The basic idea makes sense: Comcast wants to offer wi-fi hotspots all over the country to their cable customers when they’re traveling. They already have pieces of equipment in homes across the country. Why not use those leased routers to blanket the nation in a seamless Internet signal?
Instead of providing free access to any random person passing by, the networks will only be available to people with existing Xfinity accounts. Comcast claims that guests’ usage will not interfere with their customers’ connections, since the public connection will be on a separate channel and not take bandwidth away from the customer leasing the router.
If that turns out to be true, that’s cool. The problem, from our point of view, is that the “community broadband initiative” is opt-out for customers, not opt-in. New equipment will have sharing switched on by default. Customers can opt out, but have to be aware of the program, know that they have the right to opt out, and know how to do so.