dslreports logo
story category
Frontier Calls Comcast's Open Wi-Fi Push 'Disrespectful'
by Karl Bode 12:07PM Thursday Jun 19 2014
Last June Comcast announced that the company's new customer gateways would be configured to start sharing user Wi-Fi with local passers by, noting that the service could be disabled and that other peoples' usage wouldn't count against your usage cap. Still, as Comcast launches this service in a market-by-market basis consumers in each market have responded with more than a little trepidation at the concept of their router having a public component.

Amusingly, Frontier Communications is trying to use this fear as a marketing opportunity. Over at the Frontier Secure Blog, the company assures customers they "don't turn private networks into public hotspots," and that Comcast's move to make the option opt-out instead of opt-in is "disrespectful":
The lack of consumer choice is disrespectful. Rather than allowing customers to opt into opening their homes to becoming hotspots, they are unilaterally making homes into hotspots and forcing customers to figure out how to opt out of this sharing if they don’t want to be a commercial hub for Comcast.

Customers have long been told there are bandwidth restraints that require throttling the speed in which you can download content. Now, Comcast is telling customers that having up to five additional users (as will be permitted by Comcast when they turn a home into a public hotspot) leveraging their network will not slow the home owner’s bandwidth.

Then there is the question of cost. Of course it makes financial sense to Comcast, but what about the financial burden added onto their customers? It’s their customers who get stuck paying for the electric bill associated with other’s freeloading on their network. It’s their customers who get stuck paying for the location of Comcast’s modems – as they ‘host’ these hotspots in their homes. Customers are stuck with the cost of renting the Comcast modems that will be used by others. Customers are stuck with the hookup fees – the costs of potentially needing to run the fiber connection from the junction box on the street into their homes. If it doesn’t sound reasonable to you, it’s because it isn’t.
While it's really just a marketing push, it's not without valid points. Comcast claims that their systems will deliver additional bandwidth on demand to a router to handle the additional load generated by those sharing your hotspot so users won't notice the load. Have any Comcast users in markets where this functionality has been enabled been able to test this?

77 comments .. click to read

Recommended comments


Sunnyvale, CA

2 recommendations

Urban noise

I'm not a fan of all of these XFinity modems bands clogging up the WiFi spectrum in urban areas. Comcast is essentially taking over public bandwidth by flooding it with their own traffic for private use.