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Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the just-what-you-never-wanted dept.

Wireless Networking 474

New submitter green453 writes: 'As a Houston resident with limited home broadband options, I found the following interesting: Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle reports (warning: paywalled) that Comcast plans to turn 50,000 home routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots without their users providing consent. Comcast plans to eventually convert 150,000 home routers into a city-wide WiFi network. A similar post (with no paywall) by the same author on the SeattlePI Tech Blog explains the change. From the post on SeattlePI: "What's interesting about this move is that, by default, the feature is being turned on without its subscribers' prior consent. It's an opt-out system – you have to take action to not participate. Comcast spokesman Michael Bybee said on Monday that notices about the hotspot feature were mailed to customers a few weeks ago, and email notifications will go out after it's turned on. But it's a good bet that this will take many Comcast customers by surprise."' This follows similar efforts in Chicago and the Twin Cities.

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Converting Turning? (-1, Flamebait)

nigelo (30096) | about 4 months ago | (#47204537)

Can you please hire an editor who can edit?

Re:Converting Turning? (-1, Flamebait)

Soulskill (1459) | about 4 months ago | (#47204555)

My bad. Fixed now. Conference calls are the devil.

Re:Converting Turning? (-1, Flamebait)

nigelo (30096) | about 4 months ago | (#47204661)

Maybe just 'hang up and edit', then?

Re:Converting Turning? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204771)

Missed the original, but a combination of the two might have been very appropriate. After all, they are converting the families' routers and turning them out onto the streets to any paying customer they can connect with.

Xfinity sounds like a name a pimped out 80s pimp might choose.

Re:Converting Turning? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204857)

You're useless at your job, it saddens me someone still pays for this crapshoot.

Liability (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204563)

So does this mean that charges for copyright infringement (or other such activities) will no longer be brought against people based on IP Address evidence alone? Because this certainly gives a lot of people a lot of plausible deniability.

Secondly, how are the clients being compensated for the hotspot service they are now providing?

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204615)

>compensate the commoners
Oh wait, you're serious?
letmelaughharder.gif

Liability (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204665)

My guess is that you'll be compensated by having access to a city-wide wifi hotspot.

Re:Liability (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about 4 months ago | (#47204795)

Yes, this is a shitty thing to do, but, Comcast is a shitty company, so no surprise there. But there is a simple answer. Turn it off. If you don't know how, do a little research and figure out how. If you can't be bothered to expend a little mental energy, then it must not be much of a problem.

Re:Liability (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204847)

Yes, this is a shitty thing to do, but, Comcast is a shitty company, so no surprise there. But there is a simple answer. Turn it off. If you don't know how, do a little research and figure out how. If you can't be bothered to expend a little mental energy, then it must not be much of a problem.

No no, the answer is to sue Comcast.
What they're doing is 100% illegal irrespective of the shit they put in their TOS/Eula.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204887)

Not being from the US, could you please explain what makes this illegal?

Re:Liability (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205015)

Not being from the US, could you please explain what makes this illegal?

His ego.

Re:Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205091)

Awesome. Best response I've seen in a while.

Re:Liability (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 4 months ago | (#47204939)

Yes, this is a shitty thing to do

Why is this such a bad thing? Everyone already knows that ISPs oversell their bandwidth. As long as you still
get the speed you are paying for why should you care if someone else is using your wifi anymore than you care
if your neighbor is also a comcast subscriber. I doubt it increases your electricity cost and you get the benefit of
using other people's wifi when you are out and about. This seems like a win-win for everyone. I don't see the problem
if it's done correctly especially as you have multiple ways to opt out.

Re:Liability (1)

nigelo (30096) | about 4 months ago | (#47205049)

As long as you still get the speed you are paying for... ...if it's done correctly especially as you have multiple ways to opt out.

Three big "ifs" there: if you get the speed you are paying for, if done correctly, (if) you have multiple(?) ways to opt out.

Re:Liability (4, Informative)

ottawanker (597020) | about 4 months ago | (#47204983)

I'm assuming their modems/routers have a way of provisioning a second IP address so that the wifi hotspot doesn't get you in legal trouble (or steal your bandwidth).

Re:Liability (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205105)

The routers will probably use two IP addresses to identify subscriber vs. public traffic. I cannot confirm this, but this isn't hard to do if the modems already support it.

What is really scary is when network evolutionists suggest doing hand-overs of cell traffic to customer WiFi hotspots/pico-cells (see 4G LTE rev 10/11)

Who owns them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204567)

TFS talks about "users" providing consent, not owners. So I assume this is Comcast's equipment.
But does this mean no more data cap? And if a subscriber cancels service, does the public hotspot shut down?

Re:Who owns them? (5, Insightful)

Burdell (228580) | about 4 months ago | (#47204681)

It is my understanding that this will be done only on Comcast-owned equipment, and using a separate logical connection (like a VLAN) from the local subscriber data. This won't affect any subscriber data cap one way or the other. If a subscriber cancels, they probably unplug the Comcast equipment (so the wifi goes down) because they are supposed to return it to Comcast (or get billed).

Re:Who owns them? (1)

cogeek (2425448) | about 4 months ago | (#47204737)

Yeah, and both the subscriber and the freeloader will get the same amount of bandwidth I pay for every month from Comcast? Do they magically double the connection speed? Because I'm already at the highest level Internet they offer.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

lgw (121541) | about 4 months ago | (#47204785)

Yes, they magically double the connection speed, because the highest bandwidth available for home Comcast internet is typically a small percentage of what the line can carry.

The problem here, as I see it, is that the caps are low to begin with only because Comcast oversubscribes its backend hardware significantly. I'm betting the recently upgraded the back end, but rather than backing off caps they offer this new service instead.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

cogeek (2425448) | about 4 months ago | (#47204997)

Maximum transmission speed on a single coax cable last I heard was 100mbps. Since I have a 40 mbps connection rate and 5 televisions all hooked up with HD channels, how exactly could they double that without cutting into my bandwidth?

Re: Who owns them? (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | about 4 months ago | (#47205109)

I have a 105mbps connection that frequently tests higher than that, so that doesn't sound right.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

LiENUS (207736) | about 4 months ago | (#47204839)

Looking at comcast's website the highest speed internet they offer is 105Mbps while the slowest docsis 3 modems are capable of 171mbps. Most isps are pushing 8 channel modems now which can pull over 300mbps. Comcast could offer at least 60mbps without affecting your speed in any meaningful way.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

Thruen (753567) | about 4 months ago | (#47205017)

I think you're confusing advertised speeds with actual. My city is not as densely populated as any of those this is being tested in, and the connection here slows to a crawl on weekends and weekday nights. If they really can offer this without it affecting the connection of the home, then their own claims of network congestion causing slowdowns must be completely false, or else further saturating any connection must cause an additional loss of speed. If they can simply offer more speed to a home to make up for it, there must not be any real cause for the slowdown we already experience at peak times.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#47205029)

While it's possible that your local link to the node is fine, a node can have upwards of 5,000 customers all sharing a single or teamed 10gb uplink. With 100mb internet becoming common, that's 500,000mb of customer bandwidth being forced into a 10gb-20gb uplink. The last thing you need is a bunch of freeloaders putting more stress on those poor nodes.

If Comcast was doing the Google Fiber setup, it would be more like 4tb of customer bandwidth sharing 4tb of "node" bandwidth.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

TobinLathrop (551137) | about 4 months ago | (#47204989)

There are no 'freeloaders' in the sense that it is a totally open hotspot. You have to have an account with Comcrap and sign in with that. So it is still paying customers only.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47204827)

It is my understanding that this will be done only on Comcast-owned equipment, and using a separate logical connection (like a VLAN) from the local subscriber data.

That's the theory. I'll be curious to see it in practice.

Because I have far far less confidence in their ability to competently do this than you seem to.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

botfap (3511701) | about 4 months ago | (#47204959)

Probably just like other major ISP's around the world who do the same thing the following will happen: Home router has 2 networks, 1 for subscriber, 1 for public hotspot. these 2 networks CAN NOT talk to each other and traffic measured for the 2 networks is not combined. subscriber only gets billed for their own traffic. Also in most implementations like this the public wifi only has access to a small amount of the total bandwidth available, normally around 10% of the actual throughput for the line. If you are a BT broadband customer in Europe for example on an Infinity Connection you would get ~75mb downstream and ~19mb upstream with unlimited downloads (not sure how unlimited but i put through 650-900gb per month and have never been capped) for £26 per month. If you opt in to allow your home router to be used as a hotspot then ~7.5mb down / ~2mb up is made available to hotspot users. You can still use this extra capacity if nobody is using the hotspot. In addition you get free country wide access to a wifi network with 94% uk coverage and lots of mainland europe coverage. This wifi access is unlimited too and can be used by multiple devices simultaneously even when using your broadband at home. TL;DR - as long as the wifi hotspot is being implemented the same way as the other major providers are doing it then no need to be alarmed, if you travel at all it will be a huge bonus.

oS, I suppose) or by time of day. (2)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 4 months ago | (#47205021)

I would rather have a system in which the public bandwidth comes out of the bandwidth I contract for, with my being compensated for the bandwidth the public uses and my being able to limit the public usage fraction either by bandwidth (personal QoS, I suppose) or by time of day. The marketing people could call this service your "Internet solar roof."

Avoid comcast data cap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205039)

I think a lot of subscribers will start using the "free" wifi network to stream their shows, somehow the thought of using comcast's own technology to bypass a comcast imposed data cap brings a smile to my face.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

Imagix (695350) | about 4 months ago | (#47204683)

no more data cap

Why? The cable modem will be able to figure out what traffic is coming from the home vs. coming via the public wifi, and can count those separately. (And can do different speed shaping and prioritization).

subscriber cancels service

Same question. If the cable modem is plugged in, they just need to block the ethernet and "personal" SSID, leaving the "public" SSID operational.

Re:Who owns them? (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about 4 months ago | (#47204955)

Why? The cable modem will be able to figure out what traffic is coming from the home vs. coming via the public wifi, and can count those separately. (And can do different speed shaping and prioritization).

As proven time and time again, cable companies seem to have a very difficult time accurately computing actual data usage. I wouldn't have a lot of faith that they can accurately keep track of data usage of two networks from the same cable modem.

Re:Who owns them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204717)

this is why i supply my own modem for my comcast...then onto my network were i am the only one controlling the wifi equipment.

Simple but like most things the sheeple out there will be victimized.....

Evil strikes again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204575)

Yet another reason to provide your own cable modem and router to not get charged by that evil company

Public WiFi? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47204577)

What makes me think this is not Public WiFi? You're going to have to pay to use it.

Re:Public WiFi? (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47204637)

not if you're a comcast customer

Re:Public WiFi? (4, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 4 months ago | (#47204719)

In that case, you're paying to use it, you're just not paying extra to use it.

Re:Public WiFi? (3, Informative)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 4 months ago | (#47204875)

My point exactly. It's 'Subscriber WiFi', not 'Public WiFi' as TFA suggests.

Re:Public WiFi? (1)

Enry (630) | about 4 months ago | (#47204957)

This. It's not Public Wifi. It's Wifi for Comcast customers.

They already do this. (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47204585)

Where I live, in central Connecticut, all three of the major ISPs (Comcast, Cox, AT&T) have Wi-Fi that rides off the back of routers. I haven't actually tried to use it, since I think they charge some ridiculous fee to connect to it. If it was free, I'd probably give it a go.

Re:They already do this. (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47204763)

Existing Comcast customers would get free access to these hotspots.

..and it breaks stuff for end users... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205043)

Here in the mid-atlantic states, when one of our employees no longer can connect to the workplace VPN, we know that Comcast has rolled out their wifi hotspot system to that person's house. Their configuration is apparently horribly broken, so you get weird, unsolvable problems.

We always end up moving the people affected to Verizon FIOS, because Comcast refuses to acknowledge that it's their fault. 100% of the time this problem is concurrent with Comcast rolling out the hotspot nonsense, but that's not data to them! Great job, Comcast, you might eventually put yourself out of business!

Oh I get it... (2)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47204593)

This is about making some congressman or senator happy. They must have agreed somewhere to offer free wifi or something for cities in return for maintaining their monopolies. And this is how they're delivering.

On the backs of their stupid customers.

Seriously... if you have comcast... cancel them now.

Oh I get it... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204707)

Seriously... if you have comcast... cancel them now.

Great idea. Everyone should immediately switch to one of the other many alternatives.

Re:Oh I get it... (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47205061)

There is usually at least one alternative... and anything is better then comcast.

Re:make some congressman happy, the MPAA ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204731)

and the RIAA will have a duck fit - 'because here I come with my roaming torrent server'.

And we know who really has the FCC ear don't we...

Re:make some congressman happy, the MPAA ... (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 4 months ago | (#47205085)

Now I can start streaming TV episodes I missed once again, just as I did in the golden age of two years ago, even when my cable provider isn't one of the three tiny companies in the network apps "Verify My Cable Carrier" list.

The silver lining (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204601)

At least this probably means there won't be bandwidth limits....yet.

Credential phising (5, Interesting)

psergiu (67614) | about 4 months ago | (#47204605)

How long before someone releases a tool that would have a Linux-running computer or device with a WiFi card masquerading as an official Comcast WiFi hotspot an collecting the usernames & passwords of the users trying to connect ?

Re:Credential phising (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47204669)

that would be an awesome way to get free ESPN, Disney Jr and other streamed TV access

WiFi? (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 4 months ago | (#47204611)

NoFi.

So buy your own damn router. (3, Interesting)

wiredog (43288) | about 4 months ago | (#47204619)

The real problem here is people logging on to "comcast wifi" or whatever it's called using the same credentials they use to log on to their ISP account. How hard will it be for nogoodniks to set up hotspots called "comcast wifi" (or whatever) and scoop up all the credentials?

Here in NoVa Cox is doing the same thing.

Re:So buy your own damn router. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 4 months ago | (#47205067)

How hard will it be for nogoodniks to set up hotspots called "comcast wifi" (or whatever) and scoop up all the credentials?

What makes you think they have not already done it? BTW nogoodniks is not how you spell NSA.

Monthly quota? (0)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47204635)

Either Comcast will make their users pay because strangers will use their monthly quotas, or they have zero ability to calculate quotas in which case any current or past monthly quota overcharges are frauds.

Re:Monthly quota? (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#47204691)

Yeah, I'm thinking if they start using the equipment they charged you for already, and the service they charged you for already, to provide public wifi for people who are not you, they should refund you the equipment cost and completely lift your monthly cap. Otherwise, If they require your username and password to access the network, then ding the person who is utilizing the network for the data, not the person whose network just got hijacked.

Re:Monthly quota? (5, Insightful)

backbyter (896397) | about 4 months ago | (#47204735)

The usage is tied to the visitor's account, not necessarily the home owner. Does lead to interesting questions though. Is a subscriber usage limited (capped) when using other peoples wifi, if not, what happens when the home owner logs into their own router as a visitor?

Re:Monthly quota? (2)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 4 months ago | (#47204881)

Or swaps logins with another comcast customer, so they each use each others logins on their own routers.

Monthly quota? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204743)

Third option - they have the ability to calculate quotas but will no longer make the users pay for going over quota.

Re:Monthly quota? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47204753)

Either Comcast will make their users pay because strangers will use their monthly quotas, or they have zero ability to calculate quotas in which case any current or past monthly quota overcharges are frauds.

And, if their security is incompetently implemented (which it likely will be), who bears liability?

If the police show up with a warrant saying you downloaded movies, or kiddie porn, or participated in a terrorist chatroom -- you're pretty much screwed, and all because Comcast decided to re-sell what you've bought.

And, really, if all of these routers are going to become public hotspots (which apparently has a limited interpretation to be "for other Comcast subscribers"), why wouldn't I just use someone else's hotspot?

I suspect this will cause more problems than it fixes, except for Comcast who will make out like bandits. As you say, billing for overages should be pretty lucrative -- "sorry sir, it says here you've used a massive amount of bandwidth, so here's your bill, no, we can't prove you did it, but it was on your hotspot so good enough for us."

I fail to understand how these companies keep saying "ZOMG, teh bandwidth it too expensive to give you" and then combine it with "and we'll now try to get 50% more subscribers on our already overloaded network". At least, I fail to see how they can be honest about that instead of just saying "of course we're screwing you over and selling more than we have, and of course our monthly charges are wrong".

Re:Monthly quota? (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#47204801)

There have been significant advances in networking since 2002. You should read up.

Re:Monthly quota? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47205065)

There's also been significant advances in incompetence, and corporate greed.

And those two are things you should be really worried about.

Re:Monthly quota? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 4 months ago | (#47204837)

Well, that, or they'll track have the wifi access over a different VLAN, like similar schemes in other areas do. I can imagine someone that's about to go over their quota switching to the public hotspot's ssid to avoid charges, though. I'm not sure what comcast plans to do about that situation.

Re:Monthly quota? (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 4 months ago | (#47204931)

They'll probably just attach all traffic associated with your login to your account, whether it's on your cablemodem or on the wifi (if the wifi is comcast-customer-only, they'll have to have some way to authenticate that you're a comcast customer). Which will suck if/when someone gets your credentials (either by sniffing the radio or setting up a fake hotspot).

It's a separate connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204647)

It doesn't impact your usage or bandwidth. It's already in many locations.

Re:It's a separate connection (1)

cogeek (2425448) | about 4 months ago | (#47204861)

There's only one cable coming from the pole to my home, so how is it a different connection? Of course it will use your bandwidth, just as every other Comcast customer in my area affects my bandwidth.

It's a separate upstream channel. (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 4 months ago | (#47204909)

From what little I understand, the public WiFi stuff is on a separate upstream channel.

It's not using your bandwidth, but it is using bandwidth that Comcast doesn't want to make available to you, which isn't quite the same thing.

Re:It's a separate connection (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#47204935)

Yep. Heard reports of it in these parts (Tennessee) a few days ago. I have Comcast but I also have my own modem and router.

Stealing electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204653)

How is this legal?

the ultimate mesh network (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47204659)

thousands of wifi routers providing free service. i might have to go back to a dumb phone and just carry around a small tablet everywhere i go. why pay extortion prices for cell data when wifi will be literally everywhere

Re:the ultimate mesh network (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47204781)

thousands of wifi routers providing free service.

Except, there is no 'free'. You have to be a Comcast subscriber to use this.

So, they're offering a 'free' service to people who are paying an additional fee on top of their existing service to access this 'free' service.

And they're using the gear in people's houses (and possibly some of their available bandwidth) to do it.

Re:the ultimate mesh network (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204867)

Or, you turn on a router with the same name, wait until people log into it, scoop up their credentials, and then your golden.

Re:the ultimate mesh network (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 4 months ago | (#47204953)

I was wondering about this also. It depends if the authentication is via the WIFI connection or a guardian webpage.

Re:the ultimate mesh network (5, Informative)

Njovich (553857) | about 4 months ago | (#47204889)

We have this stuff here in Netherlands at one of the biggest providers (Ziggo). It seemed great to me at first, but turned out pretty much useless.

The problem is, these are home routers inside homes, this means they are low powered, not at ideal locations (not many homes in the mall, highway, train, etc), and also inside usually thick walls that stop a lot of the signal. It's just a frustrating experience, with your phone often falling in and out of connection and such. The 4G network gives a much better experience.

Isn't negative option billing illegal ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204671)

This sounds an aweful lot like what a certain large cable TV provider tried to do in Canada a while back.
They offered new channels on a "Free Preview" ... then said people had to "opt-out" of the new channels .. in order to not get billed.

Grandparents of politicians got billed and did not know what for. That practice very quickly became out-lawed.
Fancy how quickly laws get passed when you piss off the grandparents of the politicians making the laws.

Sham on you Comcast -- take a lesson from North of the border.

Re:Isn't negative option billing illegal ? (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 months ago | (#47204695)

in the USA the big cable companies provide FREE wifi service to their customers

Many will not notice additional "Xfinity" network (1)

Trachman (3499895) | about 4 months ago | (#47204687)

As always, such initiatives rely on the fact that most of the population are ignorant and passive. Aluminum foil times x 50,000 would solve this issue, but they know this is not happening.

Or just don't rent your modem... (1)

TobinLathrop (551137) | about 4 months ago | (#47204711)

I can buy one every year and it still comes out cheaper than renting from Comcast. Also the modem does not have wifi built in, it connects to my router and that takes care of things.
In a way I can see where this is nice but then I can see where it can lead to oh IP used ad house X was downloading Ke$ha music (or worse) and you have no

Re:Or just don't rent your modem... (1)

TobinLathrop (551137) | about 4 months ago | (#47204823)

In a way I can see where this is nice but then I can see where it can lead to oh IP used ad house X was downloading Ke$ha music (or worse) and you have no

gah, nice loss of train of though there self.
you have no way to know if the resident or some free loader did it.

Nice (1)

Kuberz (3568651) | about 4 months ago | (#47204759)

As it stands now, many locations still have only one option when it comes to high speed internet (excluding satellite, but that's not really high speed). Comcast is now trying to merge with Time Warner. Talk about one hell of a monopoly.

Now they argue they don't compete in enough markets, but think about it, it's the internet. With a combined merger, they will have a much easier time charging content providers for bandwidth to costumers.

So now you, the customer, are going to be higher premiums for any online services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. Because when these companies have to start shelling out to internet providers, they have to raise their prices in order to stay profitable.

So having these huge open wifi networks seems like a good deal for a consumer, it's actually just a way for these companies to get increased revenue, using the bandwidth you've purchased from them, extending it "freely" to other people, and using this as a way to entice companies such as Netflix to pay them a higher streaming premium.

Basically, and in essence, this is a way for Comcast to extend it's user base without extending it's customer base, to leverage higher bandwidth fees from content providers.

Mobile (-1, Troll)

RuthiePSills (3689823) | about 4 months ago | (#47204777)

my friends aunt just got a stunning black Nissan only from working parttime off a macbook... you can look here ..............www.cash29.com

Custom routers (1)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | about 4 months ago | (#47204815)

This is why I don't use ISP provided equipment. I have my own cable modem (which is just a "basic" model without router functionality), and my "router" is a custom built Linux box (it handles the wifi as well with hostapd).

Re:Custom routers (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 4 months ago | (#47204911)

In my parts comcast charged 6 bucks a month, when I can go down to staples and buy a fairly good cable modem for 60 bucks that will last for years. Frankly trusting your cable co to be in charge of your wifi and firewall seems like a bad idea. It gets worse they ship these garbage routers to business setups and will insist they can not just bridge until pressed hard.

You gotta love their style... (5, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 4 months ago | (#47204849)

First, they charged me for the connection to my house at a certain speed. Then, they throttled everything I'd want that speed for. Then, they charged Netflix for the connection to my house. Now, they're offering the connection to my house to other customers when it already can't keep up with my needs or come close to their advertised speeds. What am I even paying for? The joy of twice monthly hour long phone calls to resolve outages?

I bet they'll count this as "upgrading their infrastructure," just another fine example of the innovation they claim will come to an end if ISPs are better regulated.

Nutz (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47204859)

Ok, I'm generally on the side of the ISPs (I work for one) but this is nuts.

On another note, I totally want this. It immunizes you from DMCA letters.
"Sorry Comcast, I'm not pirating movies. It could have been anyone!"

Re:Nutz (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47205013)

It's not the DMCA letters you need to worry about.

It's the copyright trolls and law enforcement people.

Because when you get served with a copyright infringement suit for downloading thousands of videos, or get hauled off to jail because your location was used for something illegal ... that's where the real problems begin.

Unless we're meant to believe that this will in no way trace back to the home-owner, and be a completely air-gapped and firewalled thing. And, I must say, I'm skeptical of that.

Because, really, as people have pointed out ... set up a honey pot, collect a few login credentials, and then you can go anywhere in the city and download anything with complete impunity, because it all traces back to some other sucker.

And law enforcement is going to need to come after someone.

Re:Nutz (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 4 months ago | (#47205041)

Ok, I'm generally on the side of the ISPs (I work for one) but this is nuts.

On another note, I totally want this. It immunizes you from DMCA letters. "Sorry Comcast, I'm not pirating movies. It could have been anyone!"

You missed the part where you have to log in using your Comcast account to access them.

Re:Nutz (1)

giesen (820885) | about 4 months ago | (#47205087)

No it doesn't. This will use a separate SSID and external IP address from your home connection (as well a separate channel). While I don't agree with this practice, misstating how it works helps no one.

Copyright Trolls Delight (1)

sehlat (180760) | about 4 months ago | (#47204863)

And, of course, the CT will inevitably find these hotspots being used for so-called "infringing downloads" and proceed to hold the people the routers are assigned to responsible for them.

Malibu Media is going to LOVE this!

Re:Copyright Trolls Delight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204981)

And since anyone using these hotspots will be authenticated and tunneled, Comcast will know exactly who performed the infringement. They also don't go out the subscribers IP....

So... (1)

suprcvic (684521) | about 4 months ago | (#47204899)

So other comcast customers can stroll through and leech my bandwidth, that I pay for? Good thing I don't use a comcast wifi router.

Peachy (1)

rlp (11898) | about 4 months ago | (#47204917)

As a relatively pleased Time-Warner customer I am sooooo looking forward to Comcast acquiring TW.

Sue them for increased electricity costs (2)

eminencja (1368047) | about 4 months ago | (#47204947)

An idle router will surely use less electricity.

Paris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47204971)

Well...it works well in Pairs...but this isn't Paris...

Where do I send the electricity bill? (2)

psyque (1234612) | about 4 months ago | (#47204999)

How long until someone presents them with a bill for the electricity use? It ain't free you know.

Maybe I Was Wrong about Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205001)

This is awesome. Now I can drop my expensive Comcast service and use their free WiFi!

Dwight's blog entry is not paywalled (1)

SpiceWare (3438) | about 4 months ago | (#47205007)

while it may not have the exact same content as the paywalled link, it does provide information about it http://blog.chron.com/techblog... [chron.com]

Good idea in theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47205057)

HORRIFIC idea in practice new to many reasons:
security
responsibility
bandwidth limits

Combining it with mesh networking would also make it considerably better.
But until those things above are addressed, and some more, it is just bad.
The law will have a field-day with this. The law regarding those points above with regards to public APs are horrendous at best. (especially in the US!)

FON (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 4 months ago | (#47205089)

Sounds like what FON [fon.com] has been doing for years except on an opt-in basis.

Doubt it will work well (2)

geeper (883542) | about 4 months ago | (#47205111)

I gave the CC built in WiFi a shot but it's horrible coverage and firmware (features) turned me away. I did a live chat and had them turn the WiFi off and they did it immediately, that way I could just use my own. It comes back on automatically about every 6 months (I'm assuming because of some upgrade) and I just live chat with them and have them turn it off. It has a big bright light when it's on so it's easy to tell. If this happens to me (near Houston), I'll just contact them again.
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