Comcast announced today that it will add a public Wi-Fi signal to private wireless routers. At no additional cost, the company's Xfinity Wireless Gateway router devices will beam a public signal that will be accessible to any Comcast Xfinity customers. In effect, the addition will extend the company's already 150,000-hotspot strong Xfinity Wi-Fi network by millions of users-cum-network nodes.
The additional signals will have no effect on current users' Wi-Fi signals, and they will have the option to turn it off if they so choose (though the public hotspot will be the default setting). Current Xfinity users will be able access any of these hotspots by looking for the "xfinitywifi" signal and signing in using their username and passwords.
"WiFi is at the center of our strategy to offer our customers the best online experience, whether it's the fastest WiFi experience in the home, or a fast and reliable WiFi environment outside the home," said Tom Nagel, Senior Vice President of Business Development, Comcast Cable. "WiFi is an important part of our strategy to be the place where customers connect all devices, anywhere and at any time."
As home ISPs face greater competition from wireless phone networks offering connectivity that is not location-specific, a larger public Wi-Fi system can be a powerful selling point for customers looking to navigate increasingly mobile lives.