Is Comcast Considering $6/Month Fee For Out-Of-Home WiFi Access?

Survey takers on the Comcast Insight Community website were faced this question about a $6 monthly fee for WiFi service. Comcast says the question should not have been posted to the site.

Survey takers on the Comcast Insight Community website were faced this question about a $6 monthly fee for WiFi service. Comcast says the question should not have been posted to the site.

Comcast recently began a large-scale expansion of its out-of-home WiFi network to give subscribers Internet access via hotspots when they are away from their home network. Right now, the cost for accessing these hotspots is included in a user’s monthly subscription, but does market research recently done in the name of Comcast foretell a fee to come?

A Consumerist reader sent in the above screengrab of a question that popped up when taking a survey on the Comcast Insight Community website, which appears to be operated by market research company VisionCritical, but which does include Comcast branding.

The reader came upon this question that presents a statement that we assume many people would not be pleased to read:

“At the end of 2014, Comcast will be implementing a monthly $6 fee for WiFi hotspot access outside of your home… All XFINITY Internet subscribers will be charged this fee — you cannot opt out even if you do not currently use hotspots.”

The question our reader — and we — had immediately upon seeing this was whether this was asking for a reaction to a possible fee or if Comcast was trying to get a bead on how angry people would be when it does enact such a fee.

Since it’s a market-research survey, we hedged that it was more likely the former of those two options. However, in an effort to prove to Comcast exec Kevin Casey that we do care about truth and accuracy, we reached out to the company for clarification.

Eventually, Comcast did get back to us. According to a rep for the company, Comcast has “no plans to charge our customers for Xfinity WiFi service,” and that this particular survey should not have been posted to the Insight Community site as it had not been properly vetted by Comcast.

So there’s some good news for Comcast subscribers on a Friday — if your bill goes up, it’s not because of the company’s public WiFi network.

And since the survey company mucked up this question, we’ll do Kabletown a solid with a little market research of our own:

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  1. Snarkapus says:

    So Kabletown wants to make me pay $6 for a month to help me “save on wireless data plans” while I have unlimited data with Sprint and thus don’t NEED that service (albeit at times it might be nice).

    Umm, no. This should be opt-in only.

  2. Thorzdad2 says:

    It’s pretty hard to find a business that doesn’t have free wifi these days. There’s nothing magically great about Comcast that would make me ok with paying an extra fee for this.

  3. mongo says:

    Let me guess the absolute perfection of evel in this plan…

    1) Comcast was testing putting shared “Comcast WiFi” access spots in the Comcast access points at customers premises. (See earlier story above.)
    2) So any Comcast customer would be sharing their internet with other Comcast customers using “Comcast Wifi” (admittedly firewalled from the customer’s private network but taking up a WiFi channel.)
    3) Now lets see Comcast CHARGE Comcast customers to opt-out of sharing – making them pay extra to NOT share WiFi from their homes, and in any case charge them to access “Comcast WiFi” shared access points like the ones they are or are not hosting.