Some Xfinity wifi hotspots now available to all for free

It is fascinating to see the various things that companies and organizations are doing in the face of the Covid-19 problems. As one example, my firm’s favorite voice-over-IP telephone company, VOIP.MS, has expanded its tech support hours to 24 by 7 (blog article). And now Comcast says it has reconfigured some of its Xfinity wifi hotspots so that they are available to everyone for free.

Until now, if you wished to make use of an Xfinity wifi hotspot, you had to prove that you were a paying customer of Comcast. You would do this by logging in at the hotspot using your Comcast user ID and password.

But now Comcast says it has eliminated this login requirement at many of its hotspots. They say everyone can now use them free of charge.  You can read about it here. This is how Comcast describes the change:

Until further notice, all Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone on the “xfinitywifi” SSID. Public hotspots can be found in small/medium businesses and outdoors in commercial areas. Non-Xfinity subscribers need to accept Terms and Conditions to access the network and repeat when requested to continue to receive free unlimited access.

I tried this just now on an Xfinity wifi hotspot nearby to where I was when I posted this blog article.  It didn’t work.  I reached the usual captive portal that required me to prove that I am a Comcast customer.  I think what’s going on here is that Comcast has not been as clear as it should be about this change.  My impression is that Comcast is making this change only for some of its Xfinity wifi hotspots but not all.  Comcast seems to use the phrase “Xfinity wifi public hotspots” as if some of its Xfinity wifi hotspots are “public” hotspots and others are not.

If you are a work-from-home person and your own Internet service crashes for some reason, maybe you would get lucky and you could use one of these Xfinity wifi hotspots temporarily until you got your own Internet service working again.

If you are a Comcast Internet customer and if you are using a cable modem/router provided by Comcast, you might not know that the default configuration for your modem/router is that it serves as an Xfinity wifi hotspot.  You can read about this here.  In other words, you yourself may be hosting one of the Xfinity wifi hotspots being discussed here.  (There is a way to turn this off in your router if you wish.)

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