Report: Comcast's public Xfinity WiFi program actually costs you money2014-07-02 09:25 by Daniela
Tags: Comcast, Xfinity
Comcast has recently installed 1 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the nation, with plans to reach 8 million by the end of the year. The company claims that these routers cost subscribers nothing extra. But it turns out that these hotspots could cost their owners higher electricity bills.
Alex Gizis, CEO of Speedify, which makes software that bonds Internet connections to combine bandwidth, decided to conduct an experiment and find out how much such a hotspot would increase subscribers' monthly bills.
To test the effect of people using the hotspot, Gizis plugged the Comcast modem and router into a power strip that was being monitored by a "Kill A Watt" meter. After testing the devices while idle, "we then connected two Windows laptops to the Xfinity hotspot, one watching Netflix and the other downloading files," he wrote. "You could immediately see the difference in the power meter, as the devices jumped from 0.14 Amps when idle, up to 0.22 Amps when actually being used. To translate this into dollars and cents, we used the average cost of power here in the Mid-Atlantic, which is $0.162 per KWh."
So, if the hotspot is used by passersby constantly it would cost the Comcast subscriber "up to $22.80 per year for those of us here in Philadelphia, or $1.90 per month," according to Speedify.
In response, Comcast spokesperson Joel Shadle said that the Speedify test relied on Comcast's business equipment, rather than the equipment that's used for the residential hotspot program, and that the equipment was outdated.
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