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Comcast subscribers in California now have free access to thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots with the launch of the company’s Xfinity WiFi service.

Xfinity WiFi now provides wireless Internet access in select cities in northern and central California, plus Santa Barbara County, including: the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Fresno, Monterey, Santa Maria and Chico. In addition to the few thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots that just went live, Comcast said it would continue to add more hotspots in California thoroughout the year.

“Our customers are increasingly leveraging wireless devices, platforms and apps and looking for ways to enjoy their entertainment and communications outside of their homes,” said Elaine Barden, regional vice president of marketing for Comcast California. “With Xfinity WiFi, we’re providing them a fast wireless Internet experience while they’re out shopping, eating or otherwise enjoying their time in northern and central California.”

Once “xfinitywifi” comes up on a list of available networks on wireless devices, Comcast customers can follow the prompts in order to start their Wi-Fi sessions.

Ericsson-owned BelAir Networks is providing the outdoor access points for Comcast in California, as well as working with the Cisco modems that are deployed indoors with small- and medium-size businesses.

Xfinity WiFi provides wireless Internet access throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as Aptos, Atwater, Buellton, Cameron Park, Carmel, Chico, Chowchilla, Colusa, Corcoran, Davis, Diamond Springs, Dinuba, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, 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. A coverage map is available online.

Comcast has been pushing the envelope on its Wi-Fi hotspots. Earlier this month, Comcast turned on 2,500 hotspots in parts of eastern Massachusetts, including the Boston area, and southern New Hampshire.

Comcast is also part of a roaming agreement with Cox Communications, Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision that was announced at The Cable Show in Boston earlier this year.

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