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
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.