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Comcast to Set up Public Wifi- Kind of

Comcast announced that it will set up a public wifi network by using customer routers to broadcast separate signals.

For years, consumers have heard how important it is to lock down their routers. A router without a password is an open invitation for hackers to gain access to your computers and steal your valuable data, according to conventional wisdom. Then, there are the stories of innocent homeowners being prosecuted for the acts of criminals on their networks.

Residential routers all came with secure passwords that kept neighbors and passers-by from getting on your computer.

Now, things are changing. Comcast (NYSE: CMCSA) plans to ship routers that encourage customers to use your signal. By setting up a firewall that segregates your network from the public signal, your data is secure and for those using Comcast’s Xfinity network, they will be able to log on to any Comcast customer’s home or business network free of charge.

Comcast believes that this is the first steps to setting up a public network but since it’s only available to Comcast subscribers, that’s not exactly the case. Comcast could, in the future, make it a subscription service to non-Xfinity subscribers but that won’t get the country any closer to establishing a national network where anybody can log on.

Look for providers like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) to set up a similar network if the idea catches on.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Verizon.

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