If Comcast is your Internet provider, they could be using your router as a hotspot for public WiFi for your neighborhood.  It’s all part of a plan to create WiFi access points for customers of Xfinity Internet.

These hotspots enable relatives, friends and other Comcast customers you don’t know at all to log on to high-speed Internet connections without using your data plan.  The way it works is that Comcast’s Wireless Gateway router broadcasts two WiFi signals. One is secure and only for the home user, the second is the neighborhood xfinitiwifi network that can be shared with any other Xfinity Internet subscribers who log in with their own usernames and passwords.

This is part of a plan to offer their customers more than 150,000 indoor and outdoor WiFi hotspots in major cities in addition to the home-based neighborhood hotspot program.  The company says it has over 1 million hotspots that users can find by searching on their webpage.

The screenshot below show the hotspots available in the Detroit area.

As nice as this all sounds, some people are worried that subscribers might end up paying extra electric bills for the juice strangers might take up by using their routers if someone were to perform power-intensive tasks like streaming a movie.  There’s even been a petition started on Change.org to ask that Comcast compensate customers in some way.

~ Cynthia