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Comcast expanding Wi-Fi hotspot program

Published: Friday, April 25 2014 10:55 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Feb. 2, 2006 file photo, a technician for Comcast heads out on a job in a Salt Lake City. Six months after launching a new network of more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the state, Comcast is broadening the program. The company announced that the network has increased exponentially to more than 47,000 hotspots in Utah and is growing.

Douglas C. Pizac, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Six months after launching a new network of more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the state, Comcast is broadening the program.

The company announced that the network has increased exponentially to more than 47,000 hotspots in Utah and is growing. The expanding Wi-Fi network is part of a nationwide system that allows Xfinity Internet customers to access more than 1 million hotspots, said Tom Nagel, Comcast senior vice president of strategic initiatives.

“Not only is the network growing, but the (usage) is growing both in Salt Lake City and nationally,” Nagel said. “We’re seeing (major) growth year-over-year … and we don’t see it slowing down.”

The wireless service is provided free of charge to Xfinity Internet customers. Additionally, hot spots are available to non-Comcast customers at low cost or free depending on use. Last year, Comcast began installing and activating thousands of Xfinity WiFi hotspots from Ogden to Provo and in several other cities along the Wasatch Front.

Placing hotspots in high-traffic areas made accessing them more convenient, said Comcast spokesman Ray Child.

Customers access the network by searching for “xfinitywifi” or “CableWiFi” on the list of available networks, then following the prompts to start their wireless sessions. For mobile device users, the Xfinity WiFi app is available for iOS and Android devices.

In addition, non-Xfinity Internet customers can access Comcast hotspots for free for up to two, one-hour sessions every 30 days. After those sessions have expired, access is available for a fee based on time of usage. The system generally operates at 10-plus megabits per second.

The network consists of Xfinity WiFi Outdoor Hotspots where Comcast has placed hotspots in public locations across the region, from shopping centers and commuter stations to parks. There are also Xfinity WiFi Business Hotspots for which most Comcast Business Internet customers are eligible. Those customers — such as restaurants, retailers and offices — receive a hotspot for no additional charge when they order service in order to provide a Wi-Fi for their patrons.

The company also recently launched Xfinity WiFi Neighborhood Hotspots that provide residential customers with Xfinity Wireless Gateways allowing them the ability to have a second Wi-Fi signal in their home that is separate and distinct from their private and secure home Wi-Fi signal. The second signal gives visiting Xfinity Internet customers Wi-Fi access without having to use the homeowner’s private network.

“Our customers are living on the go,” said Comcast regional vice president Kyle McSlarrow. “Having extensive high-speed access to Wi-Fi at the places they work, shop and play makes it easier than ever for people to get access to their TV, communications, home security and automation, and other Xfinity services when they’re out of the house.”

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