Comcast unbound: Wi-Fi service available in Philly, parts of N.J., Del.

Mon, 10/11/2010 - 8:21am
Mike Robuck

Comcast is getting out of the house and into the streets with the expansion of its Xfinity WiFi service.

Comcast has finished provisioning roughly 2,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in its hometown of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, as well as in parts of New Jersey and northern Delaware.

Hotspots in the Philly area include SEPTA's Suburban and Market East Stations, the train platforms along the Paoli/Lansdale Line and the Manayunk/Norristown Line, the Wells Fargo Center, and the South Street shopping district.

Hotspots are also located in the suburbs of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties.

In New Jersey, Xfinity WiFi hotspots are located in places including: Berkeley Heights, Livingston, Long Branch, Montclair, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Red Bank, Rumson, Summit and Trenton, as well as numerous shore towns. Wi-Fi access has been available to N.J. transit passengers in northern New Jersey since a trial started more than a year ago. Additional hotspots have also launched in and around Wilmington, Del.

"With the explosion of wireless Internet devices, new platforms and apps, consumers are increasingly looking to enjoy entertainment and communications on the go," said Cathy Avgiris, senior vice president and general manager of communications and data services for Comcast Cable. "We offer some of the fastest Internet speeds in the home and, by offering Xfinity WiFi, we're also providing a fast wireless Internet experience for our customers when they are outside the home."

Earlier this year, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision formed a Wi-Fi pact in the tri-state area around New York City that allows their subscribers to use another cable operator’s Wi-Fi network when they are out of range of one of their own.

The roaming pact is also in place for Time Warner Cable and Cablevision subscribers who are in Philly or near any of the other newest Comcast hotspots.

Comcast is also providing a Web page to help its customers find the hotspots.

A spokesman for Comcast said this morning that Comcast’s Wi-Fi users were able to sign in by using the same user names and passwords from other Comcast services.

A few years ago, EarthLink partnered with the city of Philadelphia for a Wi-Fi service but ended up pulling the plug on its $17 million muni network.

Comcast hasn’t said how much it has spent on its Wi-Fi build-out, but Cablevision has spent an estimated $300 million.

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