From the Chicago Tribune:

The cable and Internet provider has begun to turn hundreds of thousands of Chicago-area homes into virtual coffee shops, using existing Comcast equipment to build out its publicly accessible wireless network.

The neighborhood hot spots initiative, rolling out during the next several months, will send a separate Wi-Fi signal from Comcast-issued home equipment, enabling anyone within range to get online. Soon, entire residential blocks will begin to show as hot spots on Xfinity’s Wi-Fi mobile app, the company said Tuesday.

Because the Comcast subscriber’s signal will be kept separate from the second, publicly available signal, the subscriber’s speed and privacy shouldn’t be affected, Comcast officials said, acknowledging that such concerns have been raised in test markets.

“They’ll look like two separate networks and they’ll act like two separate networks,” said Tom Nagel, who heads the Xfinity Wi-Fi initiative for Comcast. “Any use on the public side doesn’t impact the private side.”

Really? Won’t effect the speed available to the cash-customer? And, will the public signal have its own i.p. address? Because if it doesn’t, and some perv decides to sit outside your home and download child porn or threaten the President, it’s the cash-paying subscriber whose door will be busted in by cops.

Further, a cash-paying subscriber might be more selective about what sites he visits. What if the freeloader isn’t? In just the past two months, malware has infected hundreds of thousands of wireless routers. That’s in addition to the possible attacks on Cisco routers and TP Link routers. Remember, it’s only one router Comcast is installing, just that it’s offering a second, unprotected signal. If the router becomes hacked, the paying subscriber suffers as well.

Finally, even here in rural Vermont, my computer can detect 3 signals from others’ routers. In an apartment building in a city, there could be dozens of signals. If there will now be dozens of public — non-password protected — wi-fi signals to choose from, who in their right mind would bother becoming a paying subscriber?