Comcast today announced the availability of more than 2,000 free wireless internet hotspots in New Jersey, Delaware and the greater Philadelphia area, where the company is based. Current customers of Comcast’s Xfinity home internet service can use the hotspots by signing in with their Comcast online credentials. The company expects to increase the number of hotspots prior to the end of this year, but has not announced additional Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots in other markets.
Comcast’s (s CMCSA) offering of free wireless connectivity to customers follows that of several other Internet providers, as home broadband companies look for value-add services. Last summer, Verizon (s vz) partnered with Boingo Wireless to include Wi-Fi access with Verizon FiOS broadband plans. Cablevision (s cvc) also provides Wi-Fi for its customers as does Time Warner (s twc) in some regions of the country. Indeed, through a collaborative agreement, Comcast customers can use both Cablevision’s and Time Warner’s Wi-Fi hotspots in the New York Tri-State area at no additional charge.
Although consumers can check for Wi-Fi coverage online at http://www.xfinity.com/wifi, Comcast specifically mentions the new service in certain key areas. Some SEPTA train platforms, such as the Paoli/Lansdale Line and the Manayunk/Norristown Line, offer Xfinity Wi-Fi service as do SEPTA’s Suburban and Market East Stations. So too does Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center, which is found at the end of Philadelphia’s Broad Street line. Ironically, the subway station there at Broad and Pattison was just renamed last month: It’s now called AT&T (s t) Station, so even though AT&T offers home broadband in the area, the nearest Wi-Fi service to the station is coming from Comcast.
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