Comcast Sued Over Router Update That Makes Your Wi-Fi Hotspot Public, Ignores Your Opt-Out Preferences

from the pay-us-to-pay-us dept

In June of last year, Comcast quietly announced that it was deploying a new "Xfinity Home Hotspot" initiative that would turn user home routers into publicly-accessible hotspots. Updated routers broadcast two signals: one being yours, and the other being an "Xfinitywifi" SSID offering free Wi-Fi to Comcast users in the area (prepaid Wi-Fi for non-Comcast customers). Comcast's FAQ attempts to minimize customer worries about the initiative by noting the public Wi-Fi doesn't count against the customer's usage caps, and the router delivers extra bandwidth (above your provisioned speeds) to counter any extra usage load.

There are a number of problems with the initiative. One, you're paying Comcast a monthly fee (up to $10 in many areas) to rent hardware that's using your bandwidth (and around $30 in electricity annually) to effectively advertise and sell Comcast services. Two, the service is being deployed market-by-market without prior consumer consent. It's also opt out not opt-in, and users complain the routers continuously and mysteriously reset this preference each time the hardware receives a firmware update. Three, Comcast's sending out misleading e-mails that may place an order for the new hardware without your consent.

Complaints have been growing about this initiative for a while, but they appear to have reached a fevered pitch this week with the news that Comcast is now facing a class action lawsuit over the Xfinity Home Hotspot program. Reading the complaint, lawyers don't appear to have noticed yet that the opt-out mechanism often doesn't actually work -- but from the looks of things the fact Comcast doesn't give advanced warning about the changes may be enough for a case:
"Grear claims that Comcast does not request customers' authorization to use their residential equipment and networks for public use. "Indeed, Comcast's contract with its customers is so vague that it is unclear as to whether Comcast even addresses this practice at all," the lawsuit claims. In using its customers' home networks to build a national network, Comcast "has externalized the costs of its national wi-fi network onto its customers," Grear says in the complaint. He claims that the new routers use much more electricity than regular routers, and that this is "a cost borne by the unwitting customer."
Fortunately, Comcast customers can skip the legal proceedings and take things into their own hands by buying their own compatible router and modems, thereby avoiding paying Comcast a $10 per month rental fee to help build Comcast's nationwide Wi-Fi network. Estimates suggest Comcast makes $300 million per quarter just off of these modem rental fees alone, and the monthly fee has steadily climbed sykward over the last several years.

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  • icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 10:04am

    Mixed feelings - Mixed hatred

    Comcast does offer bandwidth exceeding that offered for other services I can get in the very affluent area of Johns Creek, GA for a very competitive price. Almost matching what I pay to UVerse. But with Uverse I don't pay anything for my modem each month and there are other fees in terms of cable box rentals that I don't pay.

    So in the end I would pay more with Comcast. Cost per MB of available bandwidth when you include the rental fees would cost me more on a monthly basis. I can quote numbers but since they like to geo-price things it would not be applicable outside my area so I did not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 10 Dec 2014 @ 10:51am

    There's also the easement issue

    If a radio station or mobile company wanted to place a transmission or cell tower on my property, they would have to negotiate a lease agreement. I.e. they would pay me for having their equipment providing their customers for service.

    This is the same thing. But I get ripped off. Not only are they using my property as a transmission point, they are making ME pay for the equipment do service their customer, and the utilities to support it. That unfairness in this is that the lease is not dependent upon if I opt-in or opt-out.

    I think they should have a reasonable case.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just Another Anonymous Troll, 10 Dec 2014 @ 10:55am

    Pirates rejoice!

    So it is now easier to pirate stuff and avoid consequences. Just use your neighbor's WiFi and they'll get arrested/sued.

    Perhaps we should inform the MPAA and RIAA of this and pit them against Comcast. With luck, they'll destroy each other and we'll no longer have to suffer either of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:01am

      Re: Pirates rejoice!

      "Just use your neighbor's WiFi and they'll get arrested/sued."

      No, that wouldn't happen. First, you aren't actually using your neighbor's WiFi. You're using an different WiFi AP that happens to be housed in Comcast's equipment sitting in your neighbor's place. Using that AP does not cause any confusion about what your neighbor is up to.

      Second, you have to log in to use the service, so all users are identified.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

        How do you login? Do you have to be an existing comcast customer to possess login credentials?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

          There are two ways. If you're a Comcast customer, then you log in with those credentials and you get unlimited use of the AP. If you aren't, then you create a (free) account, log in with that, and you can use the AP for 2 hours per week.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:04pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

            If you're a Comcast customer, then you log in with those credentials and you get unlimited use of the AP.
            Really unlimited? Or does it count against the data cap of the user logging in?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:11am

          Re: Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

          yes, comcast customers only.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Bergman (profile), 11 Dec 2014 @ 3:59pm

        Re: different WiFi AP

        And are you completely certain that police investigating an electronic crime would realize the difference?

        I can see it now: Police are investigating a credit card fraud or child pornography ring, and it all traces to a specific IP. So they look up the IP and it's assigned to a specific street address. So they get a warrant, kick the door in at 3 am, and point guns at the people inside since they're obviously the perpetrators.

        It seems a little risky to rely on the judge, jury, prosecutor and police to understand the difference in who controls the hotspot...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 11:20am

          Re: Re: different WiFi AP

          "So they look up the IP and it's assigned to a specific street address."

          The IP being used for the public portion is not the subscriber's IP.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Samiup, 2 Jan 2015 @ 8:53am

        Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

        Yeah, explain that to the FBI when they show up...

        and remember that everything you say might be used against you in a court of law...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cameron, 21 Dec 2014 @ 2:59pm

      Re: Pirates rejoice!

      Wrong, they can still track your MAC address attached to your device. You may still be using someone else's public ip but you can't change your MAC address that is hard coded into your hardware.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        notmy, 8 Jan 2015 @ 10:54am

        Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

        you can easily change your mac address in one click

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Steve, 3 Oct 2016 @ 8:02pm

        Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

        Wrong - you can change your MAC address and if I were planning to hack some official website I would sniff the Mac address of someone else. Change my MAC address to that, use someones hotspot and viola, it wasn't me it was them. Unless you have a Microsoft surface, I wasn't able to change the MAC address on that for some reason.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        JR, 28 Nov 2017 @ 5:33pm

        Re: Re: Pirates rejoice!

        Well, yes, you're right. But I have a few homebrews that shift my MAC every minute when I want to enable it, and it also has the ability to use other peoples MAC addresses that are not online at the moment, and shifts through a host of stored addresses from people that have connected to my "free WiFi" hotspot. (Don't always trust those free spots).

        Please keep in mind though, I made those because I was interested to see if I could. No, I will not allow access to them, and no, I will not share screenshots or distribute this software to anyone.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 10:57am

    Comcast probably got an NSL

    from the FBI telling them they had to set up ubiquitous multi-city wifi MAC logging.

    Also, the NSA needs a covert backbone to harvest signals from all their internet-of-things implants that communicate via wifi.

    Next up: logging wifi MAC's from all automobiles.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 10:58am

    This doesn't bother me

    ...but then, I don't use Comcast's router, I use my own. And run my own publicly available hotspot in a manner similar to what Comcast is doing (but without the need to be a Comcast customer to get unlimited use of it.)

    If I did use Comcast's equipment, though, it wouldn't bother me that Comcast is doing this for two reasons: first, the publicly available AP is not actually your subscriber AP. It's using the same hardware, but routed as a separate thing, so introduces no security problems. Second, the bandwidth people use doesn't count against me. I see this as no different than if Comcast put APs on top of the telephone poles on my street.

    Fair disclosure: I did benefit from Comcast's efforts here, though. The last time I moved, I had a two week gap during the service transfer where I had no internet access of my own. However, my neighbor had one of those Comcast APs, so I had internet access available in the interim anyway. It was the only time that I thought that rarest of phrases: "thank you, Comcast".

    Of course, a better solution would have been that Comcast improve their processes so there wasn't a two-week gap in service in the first place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 1:40pm

      Re: This doesn't bother me

      If I did use Comcast's equipment, though, it wouldn't bother me that Comcast is doing this for two reasons: first, the publicly available AP is not actually your subscriber AP. It's using the same hardware, but routed as a separate thing, so introduces no security problems. Second, the bandwidth people use doesn't count against me. I see this as no different than if Comcast put APs on top of the telephone poles on my street.
      I don't disagree. I think the only big deal at the moment is the fact that the opt-out doesn't seem to work. I've seen a lot of users complain about this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 11 Dec 2014 @ 4:02pm

      Re: This doesn't bother me

      It might affect you anyway -- the Comcast router in question is built into their new cable gateway. If you use your own router with their gateway, guess what?

      This ignores the problem of what happens if someone uses the public AP to do something illegal -- sure, it has its own IP address, but guess whose street address that IP will trace back to?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 11:21am

        Re: Re: This doesn't bother me

        "the Comcast router in question is built into their new cable gateway. If you use your own router with their gateway, guess what?"

        I'm talking about using my own gateway.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 11:25am

        Re: Re: This doesn't bother me

        "This ignores the problem of what happens if someone uses the public AP to do something illegal"

        Since this is the second time you've made this point, I'll address it in greater detail.

        I suppose there is some risk of having the police knock on your door, but the risk is tiny and the consequences if it happens are also relatively small.

        I've been operating (and still do) my own public AP for a couple of decades now. I've never once had any trouble as a result of doing so. If someone used my AP for illegal activities and the police knocked on my door, it would certainly be a huge hassle, but not a disaster.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:00am

    Changes settings

    When you set Wifi to off on your router to keep your network more secure, it resets to on without your permission each time they push these updates. According to some of the leaked documents, certain agencies easily use wifi to infiltrate private networks. Not saying for sure this is another method being used, but this is the largest provider of private user data to the feds currently. But no way would this be related to the side business of selling us out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JaySee, 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:31pm

      Re: Changes settings

      We have the same commandeering of the routers by Optimum Online in NJ ... they have made it not possible to access your own router config by going to 192.168.1.1 with your browser ... you are routed to router.optimum.net where you have to log into THEIR server and then you can access your own router config pages. HOWEVER, on the wireless page there is NO LONGER any option to turn off the wireless!

      By the way, there is another serious user problem caused by this commandeering ... if you make a config change that causes your router to not work (such as entering a bad DNS IP) you can NO LONGER access your own router! Just happened to me recently, and I had to use laptop to log into a public Optimum hot spot in order to access my own router config.

      A new, "user owned" router was ordered today!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:07am

    Of the bad things Comcast does and can do

    I don't see this as a big deal. I don't have it because I use my own cable modem on Comcast. I use it often, as when walking the dog around the neighborhood, I hop from xfinitywifi to xfinitywifi. As far as I can tell, it puts me on an isolated network with no access to the customer's home wifi (although I've seen other users' packets on the xfinitiwifi network which is not encrypted. That they have a data cap is the problem, but this doesn't add to it. That speeds are artificially reduced is a problem, but this doesn't really add to that either. It does make me chuckle knowing how many people are paying monthly to rent their equipment from Comcast though, if they keep giving Comcast extra money, Comcast will keep taking it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    GreatGreenGeek, 10 Dec 2014 @ 11:42am

    Misleading Energy Cost Claim

    You've misleadingly claimed that the router consumes $30 in electricity annually just because you're using the Comcast router. That's $30 bucks under load. Most routers are not loaded 24/7, they're often only loaded during residential peak use. So it's closer to $20 annually than it is $30.

    Thus, at most, opening up the router for public use (thereby increasing load) could have a maximum annual cost impact of ~$10.

    If you really wanted to make a stink about energy use, you'd talk about the comparative inefficiency of leased routers, which use almost three times more electricity. https://extension.purdue.edu/renewable-energy/pdf/HomeElecctronics,ID-439-W.pdf

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:57pm

      Re: Misleading Energy Cost Claim

      ...Most routers are not loaded 24/7...

      My router is powered up only when I'm present. Call me a 'tinfoil skeptic' but even with white-listing MACs, highest encryption level possible with said router, and a 20+ character password I don't want to give any 'drive-by hackers' any advantage.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      agudeza, 2 Nov 2015 @ 7:53pm

      Re: Misleading Energy Cost Claim

      That post did not say all those cost's were energy only.The homeowners/residents are paying a $10 rental fee for the equipment as well. Users who get on the APs are getting advertisements from the Comcast network and that generates revenue at the expense of the customer's $10 fee and yet Comcast feels they have a right to charge that fee too? Add that to your $20 and it = $30. And that I think is 100% wrong to do to subscribers and that modem rental fee should be free for anyone who agreed to allow their modem to be used as an AP

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Usage cap

    So if the xfinitywifi AP does not count toward the usage of the sucker whose home is running it, and (according to comment #9) Comcast customers who log in to the xfinitywifi AP get "unlimited use of the AP", is there any reason for me, as a hypothetical Comcast customer, not to shutdown the non-xfinitywifi AP and then rely on the xfinitywifi that I offer to everyone in the area (including myself) for my wireless, thereby bypassing the usage cap?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 2:52pm

      Re: Usage cap

      " is there any reason for me, as a hypothetical Comcast customer, not to shutdown the non-xfinitywifi AP and then rely on the xfinitywifi that I offer to everyone in the area (including myself) for my wireless, thereby bypassing the usage cap?"

      Nope, aside from the fact that the public side provides lower bandwidth and more monitoring.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 2:52am

      Re: Usage cap

      is there any reason for me, as a hypothetical Comcast customer, not to shutdown the non-xfinitywifi AP and then rely on the xfinitywifi that I offer to everyone in the area (including myself) for my wireless, thereby bypassing the usage cap?

      You logon with your Comcast id, and there is an even lower individual cap on free wifi use. All that is unlimited is the total data usage from the public wifi side.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JaySee, 4 Mar 2015 @ 12:42pm

      Re: Usage cap

      You could do that, but you would then not have any access to your local LAN if you have other computers, printers, etc. in the house.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jessie (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:10pm

    I can't even get the website to let me opt out even once. I've been trying for months. Even tried today, just get the "whoops, something went wrong" error. I'm sure they are taking it seriously.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Crusty the Ex-clown, 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:11pm

    How about 1099-misc?

    My new Comcast router has that "feature." I was considering sending Comcast a 1099-misc for $10.00 each year 1) to make a point, 2) to see if they could be on the hook for taxes on undeclared income -I.e., the roughly $10 of my electricity which THEY used for THEIR purposes, and 3) because if enough people did this it might cause Comcast to rethink their policy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      agudeza, 2 Nov 2015 @ 7:58pm

      Re: How about 1099-misc?

      That would be so awesome if we banned together and thousands of people did it. But you know what they do in my area? Comcast offers bundles and they include up to 4 rooms and the bundle does not itemize my boxe fees or my modem fees. Does this mean they are passing off everything as a service? I don't even know if I can get $10 off my bill when I buy my cable modem. But I hear I will. I want to oust them so bad. I wish FIOS was able to offer me something better but they are not even in my area yet

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:17pm

    didn't read in the article where the only advantage, perhaps, would be if downloading 'pirate media'. would the bill payer still be liable for illegal traffic through his account?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 2:54pm

      Re:

      No, because the use of the public AP is not actually going through resident's account at all. It's public and not associated with the resident.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, 10 Dec 2014 @ 12:19pm

    Opt-out == Uh-oh

    One of things that everyone should know by now is that everything that's opt-out is bad for you. After all: if it was good for you, it would be made opt-in and you'd cheerfully sign up for it. "Opt-out" is shorthand for "we're going to fuck you over until you notice and until you try to opt out and until you manage to get past our deliberately broken opt-out mechanism and then we're going to reset it and fuck you over again."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 10 Dec 2014 @ 1:02pm

    I received a letter from Comcast stating that I could get free Wi-Fi service when I was near a Comcast hotspot by simply using my account login. They didn't say where theri hotspots were located. I opened an app on my tablet which provides Wi-Fi signals available in my area. I discovered that there was someone on my channle with the same signal stregnth. I also noticed that whenever I hit the enter key on my desktop computer, that there was a "spike" in my channel signal which was mirrored by the other user. I called Comcast and asked why this was happeneing. That's when I discovered that they were allowing the public to use my router. I asked the tech to turn off this feature in my router. Comcast charges me too much money!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 1:43pm

    I get the anger; I'm a little pissed off they didn't ask me for permission before they started using my router, too... but OTOH I use public Xfinity hotspots all the time when I'm out and about with my Galaxy Tab. It's really useful. I anticipate the day when Comcast starts charging me to use their hotspots, that's when I hit the roof, but as long as I'm using their hotspots, I don't feel like I get to argue about it.

    Perhaps what Comcast should have done was set it up so that if you use one of these hotspots (you have to put in your Xfinity username and password), you've opted in to let them use your router, but I suppose that might have looked a little too much like customer service for those guys.

    Saddest thing is that I didn't even know you were allowed to buy a compatible router. Considering all the trouble their poorly-made, incredibly fragile routers have caused me in the past, I should have done it years ago.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2014 @ 2:31pm

    Hopefull7y someone will sue the hell out of Comcast for putting xfninity hotspots in pisspoor places. In the apartment complex where I live there is such a hotspot in one place where people come and park to use the hotspot, and making a hazzard when backing up of my parking space, and and I have damn near hit some of them.

    Comcast needs to be a lot more care of where the turn on xfinity hotspots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 11:29am

      Re:

      "In the apartment complex where I live there is such a hotspot in one place where people come and park to use the hotspot, and making a hazzard when backing up of my parking space, and and I have damn near hit some of them."

      I have a very hard time seeing how that is in any way Comcast's fault or responsibility. If those people are illegally parked, then call the apartment manager and complain. If they are not, then call the apartment manager and tell them they need to prohibit parking there.

      In other words, this is the responsibility of the apartment complex, not Comcast.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Dec 2014 @ 4:14am

    "Fortunately, Comcast customers can skip the legal proceedings and take things into their own hands by buying their own compatible router and modems, thereby avoiding paying Comcast a $10 per month rental fee to help build Comcast's nationwide Wi-Fi network."

    Except, in a number of demonstrable cases, Comcast charges people a 'non-hardware usage fee'....of $10/mo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    A. Nnoyed (profile), 11 Dec 2014 @ 8:54am

    What about Digital Voice Telephone Service

    For some reason the discussion regarding the subscriber obtaining their own modem and router, to avoid having their modem/router used by Comcast as a public Hotspot, fails to point out that EMTA's required for voice telephone service are either not available or very costly. There have been a discussion of subscribers using Comcast's EMTA and their own router to avoid the monthly cost for the modem, in other forums. That does not guarantee that Comcast will not provide Digital Voice Customers an EMTA with a WiFi access point and activate it without the subscribers knowledge or approval. Furthermore there are only three non overlapping channels in the 2.4 GHz band so in congested locations like multifamily dwellings, the Comcast Public access point can degrade the subscribers speed because of additional WiFi congestion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      JT, 3 Feb 2015 @ 12:26pm

      Re: What about Digital Voice Telephone Service

      Now I understand why Comcast keeps trying to get me to take their "Wireless Gateway" even though I have my own router. Right now I have an older modem that supports their VOIP but they keep billing my for a Wirless Gateway even though I don't have one! It is the same price as I was paying foor the older modem but it is funny that they will not stop charging me for it!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        anonomous observor, 5 Aug 2016 @ 6:17am

        Re: Re: What about Digital Voice Telephone Service

        They gave me the password protected modem.
        Did not inform me , I had to call and set up a password,

        So, like a coffee shop, It cost me 500.00. to repair all.
        not withstanding the health issue's, I am still hoarse,
        From dealing with those at Comcast that can't speak English.

        At least Verizon, they are all U.S.citizens , and they insure that they have a good use of the English language.
        Why, rated, #1 in tech support, and other functions!

        What is the class action attorney handling the class action?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    cubicleslave (profile), 11 Dec 2014 @ 11:31am

    And this is why I didn't rush to install the xfinity wifi box that Comcast sent me; I called their "customer service" (Ha!) and asked what could I expect from the new device... and no technical answer was forthcoming. So I sent it back and kept using my own wifi router.
    I hope Comcast loses the class action lawsuit. It would serve them right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Gordon Grant, 19 Oct 2016 @ 11:42am

      Re: Comcase "customer service"

      What number did you call to contact them? All the documentation includes is a "Chat" line that doesn't connect.

      I want to hear what it does for me other than take up more space on my rack.

      Regards
      GG

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Tom (profile), 20 Jan 2015 @ 5:41am

    Not such a bad thing

    Although I do rejoice any time I get a chance to complain about Comcast, I don't have such a big problem with this. My hatred for Comcast began when they started capping data. It seems like the dumbest thing ever to me. Such a small amount of data for five people living in one house. But I do have one of these routers and when I connect to the hot spot, instead of my personal wifi, the data does not count against me. And I use a lot of data and so does my family. So now I'm able to use way more data then alotted by the cap. Now instead of them cheating me I get to cheat them this time. Not to mention how incredibly convenient it is that I can now connect to a hot spot almost every where I go without using mobile data either. I would much rather pay the $10 a month for the router instead of paying the penalty for the hundreds of data gigabytes I go over every month.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just FYI, 17 Feb 2015 @ 9:07am

    Calm down - Hypothetical

    You are actually able to disable the wireless hotspots on the WG. It's in your settings and you can probably figure out how to do so either by using Google or calmly contacting Comcast. The Hotspot can only be accessed by someone who subcribes to Comcast services, unless they are a "SUPER HACKER". If you are in fear of "SUPERHACKER" accessing your network/ information in such a manner, your best bet is to seperate yourself from all communication/ wireless/ internet technology.

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  • identicon
    Juanita, 5 Mar 2015 @ 6:44am

    How about asking for permission?

    Can you say 500 pound gorilla? COMCAST needs to be regulated. The wireless B/G spectrum is already congested in some areas due to the 3 non overlapping channels issue mentioned by another commenter. So this just exacerbates that problem so that in some areas, nobody will get a good wireless connection. And this "opt out" thing that companies use should be illegal. How about requiring "opt in" measures? Maybe someone should make and market a low tech lead box so that we can put our Comcast gateways in a "secure" place and in effect turn off xfinity wifi.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sandra Williams, 7 Mar 2015 @ 12:17pm

    xfinity using hotspots in hacking into my computer

    I contacted the FCC on many occassions and this includes AT&T although when I moved I decided to use Xfinity. At&t was overcharging me too. It will be a year on April 6, 2014. When I took the contract with Xfinity. I had the telephone, internet, and cable. My bill was only supposed to be $104.00 per month but I was paying $150.00 per month. When I asked why my bill was so high I was told I was paying a month in advance but I was told this.

    After the service was put in I didn't understand how my computer was being hacked into. I would dismantle the computer every time I used it but know they were by passing my WiFi in order to hack into my computer and llock me out of my documents and they placed certificates in my computer where I can't access sits.

    I contacted the FCC with respect as late as September 2014 when I noticed I was being monitored in my own home without knowledge. They had no right to invade my movement in my own home. They tapped my phone lines and they monitored my telephone and what calls I received and/or not received. Not only did Xfinity used this criminal activity but At&t used the same conduct.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Alicia Negrete, 29 Jul 2015 @ 11:30am

      Re: xfinity using hotspots in hacking into my computer

      I believe you Sandra I have been going through the same thing and no o e listens or wants to get involved and help me! I've contacted the fbi the fcc and still they keep hacking into my computers and monitoring me.. These are engineers from hell what I did discover was a name where the remote access section of my computer was and that read the name of remote access created in 09 by a Russ Blake.. I looked this person up and it happens to be an engineer smdh but must be untouchable

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rhoda Moss, 25 Mar 2015 @ 9:33am

    Comcast charging for battery pack

    Comcast wants me to change my roter for their update and they claim it's free. I now have a FREE battery pack and when I upgrade the current battery pack I have is not compatible so therefore I have to buy a battery pack which I can't afford so I can't upgrade, what's wrong with this picture!!! Time to get rid of comcast for good.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jos ph, 30 Mar 2015 @ 7:32pm

    thisnis bs

    i bought my own arris dory modem/router, its mine not paying a rental fee and still found out they were broadcasting the second signal. My frekin neghbors are asking if i have a password it wont let them login. comcast is a monoply just wanting more money and power they dont care about costumers. i use to be a cable tech in sacremento area

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Airmaxed, 25 May 2015 @ 11:02am

    Xfinity helping not hurting

    What I see here is a lot of whining. No single company is utilizing this free spectrum better.They were thinking of you the subscriber to their services. Only subscribers can access the public hotspot feature. And that is you Xfinity users.

    Since the big monopolies, wireless carriers no longer offer any kind of unlimited data, comcast has done you a large favor. People are not camping out in front of your homes. So if you are walking the dog, and listening to the radio, or whatever you may be doing via Internet, you are not using that expensive data from your wireless carrier. Say thank you Comcast. So if you feel like your being done wrong. Go use what they have given you, all over the US, on the go, at a neighbor's house, at a restaurant, and keep from using your wireless carrier's way expensive, over priced data.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Not Quite, 16 Jun 2015 @ 12:07pm

      Re: Xfinity helping not hurting

      Not so fast my friend! You can't seriously think Comcast, the very definition of a greedy corporation that is too big to fail/care at all about the customer, would put YOU first.

      "Only subscribers can access the public hotspot feature."

      That's where you're wrong, others can 'FOR A FEE'. THAT is why they're doing this. Free advertising, and free $$$ from people desperate enough to sign up for a temporary pass to use their WiFi. They're essentially using you to spam someone looking for WiFi, hoping it will result in some additional income. Honestly, why would automatically making a residential modem broadcast a public hotspot help YOU? All that does is attract non-locals to your house to leech WiFi, if they were local they'd have their own WiFi to use. I honestly don't know anyone that would force guests in their home to use a public hotspot for security reasons as Comcast claims as a benefit, that's just ridiculous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaddyWack (profile), 25 Jun 2015 @ 10:11am

    Comcast modem

    I have found the xfinity hotspot, although supposedly disabled after a painfully long, up sell ending call to their "support " to disable the signal, is still sitting directly atop the wifi....causing it to fade in and out. Has anyone had success changing the channel of their wifi from the comcast modem? I alos have voip so using my own router might not be a possibility.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tom (profile), 28 Jun 2015 @ 3:46am

      I changed my stance

      The modem is very limited. So is the router. I can't change the NAT type without a static IP. I tried to get a static IP but Comcast actually disabled that part too. I called and they confirmed. I do a lot of gaming and need the NAT but I'm stuck. I considered changing services but my entire zip code can only use Comcast for cable. They made a deal with AT&T for residentials so they have the next town over.

      I WAS happy with the Hotspot though. Since xfinity has a data cap I would disconnect from my WiFi when I got close to the cap and connect to the Hotspot because it didn't track my data. But now they track the data no matter what your connected to, as long as you're signed in to your account. And now that non-Comcast users can pay to use the Hotspots my neighbors can disconnect their Internet and just use mine while I'm paying hundreds of dollars plus rent for the modem/router...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Carolyn Coughlin, 6 Jul 2015 @ 8:31am

    I am wondering if this interferes with my Uverse?

    I am constantly seeing this infinity wifi pop up as a neighbor must have got Comcast, and my "blazing fast" uverse top of the line internet is now bumping me off all the time and the Comcast message is showing. My uverse is also very slow. My mac doesn't seem to have the "forget this network" choice any more. . . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jack, 13 Jul 2015 @ 12:39am

    Comcast sucks. The problem is there are limited alternatives. But Comcast has become one of the worst & most expensive cable/internet providers on the planet. Their monthly rate goes up instead of staying at a fixed reasonable rate, their coustomer service is a joke, & they have the worst wifi we ever used. Our wifi just went out after my landlord took her laptop on a trip. For what ever reason our router can't seem to work without that laptop. We have the newest router so it shouldn't need to depend on a host server to keep the internet up like those older routers Comcast used to make. It's supposed to be a self sufficient service router with both wired & wireless internet & 2.4 Ghz & 5.0 Ghz capability. Comcast sucks & they just don't care. They make idiot decisions behind customers backs & they are trying to buy out as many companies as they can instead of focusing on quality control of their services.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jdepp4515, 13 Sep 2015 @ 10:34am

    wifi

    turn on the wifi hotspot on your laptop using simple cmd commands

    create wifi hotspot

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    luis, 30 Sep 2015 @ 4:45am

    Comcast wants me to change my roter for their update and they claim it's free. I now have a FREE battery pack and when I upgrade the current battery pack I have is not compatible so therefore I have to buy a battery pack which I can't afford so I can't upgrade.
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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    menad, 30 Sep 2015 @ 4:46am

    Since the big monopolies, wireless carriers no longer offer any kind of unlimited data, comcast has done you a large favor. People are not camping out in front of your homes. So if you are walking the dog, and listening to the radio, or whatever you may be doing via Internet, you are not using that expensive data from your wireless carrier. Say thank you Comcast. So if you feel like your being done wrong. Go use what they have given you, all over the US, on the go, at a neighbor's house, at a restaurant, and keep from using your wireless carrier's way expensive, over priced data.I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it.Australian open 2016 live streaming and also check australian open live scores.You can also check Australian open live broadcasting tv channels.

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Carole Alexander, 4 Nov 2015 @ 7:22am

    Comcast class action suit

    Just found out Comcast has been using me as a hotspot without my knowledge. Where do I sign up for the class action suit?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrea B., 13 Dec 2015 @ 8:01pm

    Comcast wifi router/modem issues/class action suit

    I mentioned in one of my many conversations with Comcast reps (too many problems with my service) that I would purchase my own modem to save the $10/mo. rip off charge and one said fine. Another one told me that if I have phone service with them as well (which I do) that they'd still have to charge me the $10/mo....how do you ever know who to believe until it's too late???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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  • identicon
    Derek, 23 Apr 2016 @ 1:19pm

    I don't have nor want wifi in my residence

    Ok here is one for you I know the world is oblivious rigfht now but all these RF(radio frequencies)are detrimental to your health. Now like eating chocolate cake a little isn't going to hurt anyone but we now have hundreds of fields overlapping each other. I for one am sensitive sure I can be around wifi to a degree but when i had it in my house after a coule months started waking up with headaches which got worse and worse took the wifi out and felt much better in a couple of days I now do not have any RF in my house including anything from the water companys meters or gas or electric meters now peoplke love their wifi and RF devices I say do your thing but I know it effects me and did hours upon hrs of my own due diligence in reasearch bout the health implications Read Dr Havas and Dr Carlo's work oin it and the biuo initative report of 2012 on over 1500 studies showing the negative impact of wireless radiation

    Once again if people like it let them have it but my health certainly declines majorly so who the heck are they to force this on me and hide the fact its in there..
    It's almost the equivalent of a chef sprinkling peanuts into your food and not telling yopu about it and you may run into the very rare person that has a peanut allergy what then ? I am part of the 5% of the country sensitive . I don't see how they can legally get away with this

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael Mc Namara, 6 Feb 2018 @ 8:13am

      Re: I don't have nor want wifi in my residence

      I used to get tired after 15 minutes(so tired, I felt like I needed to sleep), with the Comcast hotspot router within 3 feet of me. Bridging it(they did it.)fixed that problem. Caution here, as the new cell phone tower router can be felt from over 5 feet away, while I couldn't really feel the hotspot one. Their new modem might have the same problem. I invented something that helps with Wi-Fi in our air. It gives you a boost of energy at all times. But, if you are still close to a hotspot, cell tower, or any strong source of Wi-Fi, my invention still is not strong enough to fully protect you. I believe the operating principle is that entropy(i.e. disorder, unless energy is added-which is how things are)is much greater now that we have all these frequencies going through us. If you can add energy at all times, your health(e.g. sleep, rest, energy, thinking)improves dramatically. You still have to be careful about strong Wi-Fi sources. Distance is your best defense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 May 2016 @ 6:21pm

    No single company is utilizing this free spectrum better.They were thinking of you the subscriber to their services. Only subscribers can access the public hotspot feature. And that is you Xfinity users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2016 @ 8:31am

    COMCAST is now also stating that they are unable to disable hotspot

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Johnah, 20 Aug 2016 @ 1:20am

    Since the big monopolies, wireless carriers no longer offer any kind of unlimited data, Comcast has done you a large favor. People are not camping out in front of your homes. So if you are walking the dog, and listening to the radio, or whatever you may be doing via Internet, you are not using that expensive data from your wireless carrier. Say thank you Comcast. So if you feel like your being done wrong. Go use what they have given you, all over the US, on the go, at a neighbor's house, at a restaurant, and keep from using your wireless carrier's way expensive, over priced data.I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it.

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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nikki, 21 Sep 2016 @ 7:16am

    Still an ongoing problem

    I have had many issues with my comcast modem, slow speeds, wifi disconnecting every 10-20 mins, had several modems replaced and still continue to have issues, most recently is Xfinity WIFI hotspot enabling itself without my knowledge or permission. I have disabled this option under my account only to find it enabled again the next day (still showing as disabled under my account page), and when calling comcast support I'm being told it is showing as disabled on their end, and when I tell them that I have unplugged my modem and the wifi disappears from my list of available wifi networks and then when I plug it back in the xfinitywifi comes back as an available network they quickly say they will disable it. Now why would they disable it if they just said it was disabled on their end? Because they are cons and this needs to be investigated further, I'm sure I'm not the only one, and I'm sure not every customer would know how to check if their modem is broadcasting their modem as a wifi hotspot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    steve, 3 Oct 2016 @ 8:14pm

    Have my own modem and still they turn on their hotspot

    I bought my own modem to avoid the $10/month to rent theirs and they constantly update the firmware and mess with my port forwards. I've had enough of being away and suddenly losing access to my server. So I am going to bill them for using my equipment for their "free wireless" commercial purpose which I didn't authorize or agree to and when they don't pay I will sue them in small claims court for $4950 (max in small claims is $5000). Sure I could turn on bridge mode and turn off the wirelss (just recently since the previous firmware was missing these options) but why should I have to bother and suing them sounds like more fun anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pissed off, 14 Feb 2017 @ 11:53pm

    I just realized the Comcast tech came to "update my Dvr" then went to the bedroom and said the router I had was old and co

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stephanie, 6 Apr 2017 @ 2:34am

    How neighbor is able to get me to bypass my own modem and control cable internet and phone

    I pay over $200 a month and it is Business Class for a neighbor criminal. They get all the services and anything I have a problem with goes to them. The latest and greatest is my i.p. is controlled by them. They steal it and use it for credit card fraud, insurance fraud etc. Even state my credit card purchases are theirs and deliver the items purchased in their own vehicles. Comcast has no assistance and Apple states your on the internet aren't you. Well if you ever used loopback they can place you in any city in the United States. These work at Comcast pay nothing for these services and as spoken concerning a lawsuit they have control of all communications. Even my email is locked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
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  • identicon
    Michael Mc Namara, 6 Feb 2018 @ 7:49am

    Comcast router and modem

    I always got tired within 15 minutes of sitting at my computer. I sat within 3 feet of their (hotspot)router. The problem went away after they bridged it(eliminating Wi-Fi, I guess). Now, they have a new modem and router that makes you a cell phone tower. This new router(at least) I can actually feel it from over 5 feet away, whereas, before, I couldn't feel the hotspot router. It is dangerous to your health. Remember, distance is your best defense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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