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Comcast’s Wi-Fi hot spot service expanding to Chicago-area homes

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Comcast subscribers in the Chicago area will soon be hosting public hot spots out of their living rooms.

The company has begun deploying updates to its residential gateways that will create publicly accessible hot spots as part of its Xfinity Wi-Fi network, according to the Chicago Tribune. The hot spots, which will operate separately from customers’ existing home networks, will be accessible to Comcast customers for free.

While some Comcast customers may be nervous about public access to their home devices, the company has pledged to keep residential and hot spot traffic separate from one another. Customers also have the option of disabling the public hot spot feature on their wireless gateways, although the service will be enabled automatically once deployed to the user’s modem.

Last year, Comcast debuted its Wi-Fi hot spot service to thousands of business in the city and suburbs. This initiative will add even more hot spots to the area as part of its nationwide network, which consists of over 500,000 hot spots nationwide. Smartphone users can configure their devices to automatically connect to nearby Xfinity hot spots with their Comcast ID and password.

Users who aren’t Comcast subscribers can access the Xfinity Wi-Fi network at no charge for two hours a month. After that, customers can pay $2.95 an hour, $7.95 a day or $19.95 a week for continued access.