Comcast thinks it ok to install public wifi in your house

Tim Upthegrove tim.upthegrove at
Thu Dec 11 21:37:22 UTC 2014

On Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 3:50 PM, Doug Barton <dougb at> wrote:
> My concerns are that apparently customers are not informed about the thing
> before it gets enabled, and the issue of wifi density that was raised by
> several people here. If you have an apartment building for example, where a
> significant majority of the tenants are Comcast customers (cuz in 'murica
> we loves us some monopolies) I see a lot of strong xfinity signals stomping
> on an already crowded 2.4 G spectrum.
> So just to be clear, I'm not being critical at this point, I'm simply
> interested in separating the facts from the hype.

Here is an additional data point that can hopefully satisfy your curiosity.

TL;DR: In my experience, Comcast appeared to hide the fact that they are
running this new wifi service by using my device, and they pushed the idea
of upgrading my router by saying it would improve uplink speeds (which may
be true).  IF you find out that the XFINITY wifi service will be running on
your device, then it is not hard to disable it.

I received an email from Comcast that they were offering a free upgraded
wifi router for my home.  Here is a snippet from the email:

At Comcast, we're constantly improving our Internet network. For you, that
means access to faster in-home WiFi speeds, more bandwidth, and more
coverage for your whole home. With all of these technology advancements,
devices need to be upgraded in order to fully maximize our service

Recently, we increased the speeds of some of our popular Internet tiers at
no additional cost to you. Our records indicate that your cable modem needs
to be upgraded in order to ensure you're getting the most out of your
XFINITY® Internet service.

To ensure you're receiving the full benefits included with your service, we
want to replace your existing modem with a Wireless Gateway free of charge.


The rest of the email is instructions and contact information for customer
service.  I didn't really pay attention to much else (e.g. separate emails
or marketing campaigns), but why not mention that by installing this new
device, I would be enabling the XFINITY wifi service in this email?  At the
time, I kept wondering what the real incentive was for Comcast to send me
anything for free.

The first step of the provided instructions in the email was a link, which
I assumed would walk me through some steps to sign up.  I think that
brought be to a login screen, so I logged in.  As soon as I did that, I was
notified that my new device was on its way.  All I really wanted was more
information, so this annoyed me quite a bit.
After I received the device, I decided to give it a try.  Before I did, I
researched a bit online and figured out that they were planning on offering
the XFINITY wifi service from my device.  The management interface for the
device is a bit limited.  It was annoying enough that I *wanted* to go back
to my old setup, but it was not annoying enough for me to actually jump
through the hoops I'd have to go through to actually carry that out.

I agree that the XFINITY wifi service in it of itself is not a bad thing,
but I personally didn't want to run it on my device.  I agree with folks
saying it is easy to opt out.  Instructions for disabling the public
connection were easy to find and simple to perform.

I am comfortable with my current situation, but the whole process left me
with a distrust of clicking any link that Comcast provides me in the future
when the email says "ACTION REQUIRED" in the subject.  As a consumer, I
personally felt that I had been misled, but I was glad that the opt-out
process was simple.


Tim Upthegrove

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