Comcast's Wi-Fi Network Blows into Chicago

Comcast confirmed it has deployed more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in the Chicago area and is offering free access to them to non-customers for a portion of the summer.

In addition to providing authenticated access to its own high-speed Internet customers, Comcast is also allowing to non-customers to hook in for free through July 4, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday, noting that non-Comcast subscribers can get two free hours of Wi-Fi per month after the promotional period ends.

The free Wi-Fi promo in Chicago ties into a wider customer-acquisition campaign centered on Comcast’s wireless broadband strategy. FierceCable reported this week that Comcast’s free Wi-Fi promotion kicks off this Friday and will also be touted in several other markets, including New Jersey, California, Philadelphia, and Boston.

A Comcast spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that the promotion will be offered in all markets that have Xfinity Wifi.

As is the case in Comcast’s other Wi-Fi markets, the new deployment in Chicago is also open to cable customers who get cable modem service from members of a “Cable WiFi” roaming consortium that currently includes Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks.

Comcast has deployed more than 56,000 Wi-Fi access points, more than double the 25,000 it had deployed by the end of 2012. According to Multichannel News research, the five MSOs that are part of the CableWiFi roaming club have deployed more than 162,400 Wi-Fi access points so far.