Comcast may not have been able to cut it as a mobile operator, but it doesn’t seem to have any trouble becoming a wireless hotspot provider. On Thursday the cable company said it has completed a build of a “few thousand” Wi-Fi hotspots throughout its northern and central California cable territory, including the San Francisco Bay Area.
Like its cable compatriot Time Warner, Comcast isn’t just latching onto the established managed Wi-Fi networks in coffee shops, restaurants and shops. It’s building an extensive outdoor hot zone network as well, exposing its access points to the elements to capture high-traffic pedestrian zones and public gathering spots.
Until now Comcast has been mainly concentrating on the eastern seaboard where it has built extensive networks using Ericsson BelAir Networks equipment in and around Boston; Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. But now it has cast its eye on the left coast. Comcast has also struck up roaming pacts with Time Warner and Cablevision that will eventually allow them to create a unified national hotspot network, though so far its only been implemented in New York City.
Comcast’s California rollout doesn’t appear to be quite as dense as its mid-Atlantic deployment, but it covers a lot of markets. A complete list of cities and towns is at the end of this post, but you can also see detailed coverage maps at the Xfinity website.
As with its east coast network, Comcast is offering Wi-Fi access to its residential broadband customers for free. For non-Comcast subscribers, the cable operator is selling access by the hour, day and week. The SSID for the network “XfinityWiFi” and can be accessed from any laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Apart from the Bay Area the new Comcast network is in the following markets: Aptos, Atwater, Buellton, Cameron Park, Carmel, Chico, Chowchilla, Colusa, Corcoran, Davis, Diamond Springs, Dinuba, El Dorado Hills, ElkGrove, Fairfield, Folsom, Fresno, Galt, Grass Valley, Hanford, Kerman, Lathrop, Lemoore, Lodi,Lompoc, Los Banos, Madera, Manteca, Marysville, Mendota, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Murphys, Nevada City, Newman, Oakdale, Oroville, Parlier, Patterson, Placerville, Rancho Cordova, Reedley, Roseville, Sacramento, Salinas, San Andreas, Sanger, Santa Maria, Selma, Solvang, Sonora, Soquel, Stockton, Tracy, Tulare, Twain Harte, Vacaville, Vallejo, Visalia, Willows and Yuba City.