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Comcast Casts Wider WiFi Net

Broadening the reach of its wireless broadband network, Comcast announced Tuesday that it has deployed more than 1,800 quasi-public Xfinity WiFi hotspots in some high-traffic areas in its Keystone Region, an area that covers parts of western, central and northeastern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, northern West Virginia and the Maryland panhandle.

For this portion of the WiFi deployment in Keystone, Comcast said it has installed hotspots in shopping spots along McKnight Road and Babcock Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s North Hills, Perkiomen Avenue in Reading, and Route 30 in Lancaster and York, among other areas. 

Comcast said it expects to add another 1,500 WiFi hotspots in the Keystone region before the end of the year. Those deployments will build on the thousands of WiFi hotspots Comcast has deployed elsewhere in the state, including the greater Philadelphia area.

Those hotspots are accessible for free to most Comcast cable modem subscribers, as well as broadband customers who receive broadband service from other members of the “Cable WiFi” roaming consortium – Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications.  Those operators have deployed more than 400,000 hotspots. Charter Communications, which has begun to deploy its own network of hotspots under the “Spectrum WiFi” and is in the process of acquiring TWC and Bright House, is expected to join the Cable WiFi group by the end of the year (subscription required).

Comcast’s total WiFi footprint (comprised of deployments in public and business locations, as well as via “Neighborhood Hotspots” installed in home-side routers) currently spans more than 8.6 million hotspots, Neil Smit, Comcast Cable’s president and CEO, said in May during the company’s first quarter earnings call.

“With the number of mobile devices increasing, now more than ever before, our customers want to be connected wherever they go,” said Christine Whitaker, SVP of Comcast’s Keystone Region, in a statement. “Having the largest Wi-Fi network in the region and the nation is a major benefit to our customers, and we are pleased to continue to make these investments.”