Comcast Corp. has once again come under fire due to its shady consumer practices.
The massive broadcast and cable company provides a unique service to its customers through its 3.5 million Wi-Fi hotspots located around the country. This service is conceptually convenient but jaded in reality. Consumers recently discovered that while they utilize the Comcast Wi-Fi network, the pop-up advertisements flashing across their devices originate from Comcast itself, rather than from the various third party location-based network locations.
Comcast inserts 2 types of advertisements: one reminding users they are using Comcast’s service, and another type reminding users to download Xfinity applications. Xfinity is a signature service provided by Comcast.
Comcast’s ad injections are a big deal.
The advertisements flash across the screen approximately every 7 minutes and last for a few seconds before disappearing. And while these advertisements are rather annoying and seemingly harmless, they actually have the potential to cause serious harm to users’ personal devices.
To be fair, ad insertions are not unique to Comcast. Many Airports practice similar techniques within their Wi-Fi hotspots as well. However, 22 million Americans subscribe to Comcast’s services, leaving millions vulnerable to nefarious outside groups holding dark intentions.
Comcast and other similar service providers have a duty to customers to offer unrestricted, open access to the Internet. This controversial practice has developed during a crucial crossroads concerning open Internet access. With the rising public outrage against net neutrality regulation, the stakes have never been higher.
Dixit, Pranav. (2014, September 9). Comcast Is Injecting Ads Right Into Web Pages At Its Public Hotspots. [Web Log Post]. Retrieved from http://gizmodo.com/comcast-is-injecting-ads-right-into-web-pages-at-its-pu-1632327503