Comcast’s neighborhood hotspots may raise customers’ electric bills $23 per year, Connectify says

A few folks find Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) policy of using Xfinity Wi-Fi residential and business routers to create neighborhood hotspots alarming and worry about potential privacy issues from putting a second SSID for the public on a router. But Connectify alleges it has found something else that should concern Xfinity customers: the extra power consumption, and potentially higher utility bills, that these devices engender.

Comcast has indicated that it costs subscribers nothing extra on their Xfinity bills to install and use routers that enable public Wi-Fi access as well as private access. However, Connectify contends the public's use of these hotspots will raise their hosts' electric bills.

"Based on our tests, we expect that by the time they roll it out to all of their subscribers, Comcast will be pushing tens of millions of dollars per month of the electricity bills needed to run their nationwide public Wi-Fi network onto consumers," Connectify said in a blog post on its Speedify website.

Connectify, which markets an application and service that bonds Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE and wired channels for greater bandwidth and faster connections, came to its conclusions regarding the extra power consumption by testing what it described as the standard Xfinity Hotspot setup for use in an office. The equipment sent to Connectify by Comcast included a Cisco DPC3008 cable modem and BelAir 20E Wi-Fi router, which broadcasts the Xfinity public hotspot.

In an experiment, Connectify connected two Microsoft Windows laptops to the Xfinity hotspot, with one streaming Netflix and the other downloading files. "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," the company said.

Connectify used the average cost of power in the Mid-Atlantic, which it said is $0.162 per kilowatt-hour, to calculate how much hosting a Xfinity Hotspot might cost a residential or business customer in terms of electric utility charges. Connectify said that in Philadelphia, where it is based, the cost could run up to $22.80 per year, or $1.90 per month.

Connectify initiated a change.org petition "to demand that Comcast offers increased Internet speeds to compensate their customers who are footing this bill for them." The company contends that at Comcast's going rate of $0.25 per one Mbps, anyone that hosts an Xfinity Home Wi-Fi Hotspot should get about 7.6 Mbps of extra speed in exchange.

On the petition site, Connectify wrote: "With the new public hotspots projected to be in millions of homes by the end of 2014, that translates to customers footing a bill upwards of $40,000,000 to roll out Comcast's public Wi-Fi network."

Notably, Connectify's allegations emerged the same week that the Society of Cable Television engineers, in league with Comcast and other cable operators, announced Energy 2020, a plan to develop new standards, technology, solutions and training to significantly cut the energy use and cost of cable networks by 2020.

Meanwhile, others remain concerned about security issues surrounding Comcast's neighborhood hotspot plan, particularly with regard to potential man-in-the-middle attacks. Ars Technica recently noted that an attacker could easily spoof both the "xfinitywifi" SSID and the Xfinity login page to get Xfinity credentials from devices set to automatically log into Xfinity public hotspots.

"By the way, those Xfinity Wi-Fi login credentials? They're the same set of credentials used to gain access to Comcast customers' account billing information, webmail, and other services," Ars Technica noted.

Similarly, Network World specified how a Wi-Fi Pineapple hacking tool would be used to create "hot-spot honeypots" targeting Xfinity users.

For more:
- see this Connectify blog post
- see this Ars Technica article
- see this Network World article

Related articles:
SCTE, cable operators pledge to reduce network energy use by 2020
Probing the security threat posed by AT&T and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots
Frontier lashes out at Comcast's consumer public Wi-Fi hot spot initiative
Connectify commercializes Speedify channel bonding service
Comcast's dual-signal gateway for businesses will expand its Wi-Fi footprint
Comcast planning 8 million Wi-Fi hotspots in 19 major cities by year-end
Turning home Wi-Fi into community hotspots: the ins and outs of a new trend

Comcast’s neighborhood hotspots may raise customers’ electric bills $23 per year, Connectify says

A few folks find Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) policy of using Xfinity Wi-Fi residential and business routers to create neighborhood hotspots alarming and worry about potential privacy issues from putting a second SSID for the public on a router. But Connectify alleges it has found something else that should concern Xfinity customers: the extra power consumption, and potentially higher utility bills, that these devices engender.

Comcast has indicated that it costs subscribers nothing extra on their Xfinity bills to install and use routers that enable public Wi-Fi access as well as private access. However, Connectify contends the public's use of these hotspots will raise their hosts' electric bills.

"Based on our tests, we expect that by the time they roll it out to all of their subscribers, Comcast will be pushing tens of millions of dollars per month of the electricity bills needed to run their nationwide public Wi-Fi network onto consumers," Connectify said in a blog post on its Speedify website.

Connectify, which markets an application and service that bonds Wi-Fi, 3G, LTE and wired channels for greater bandwidth and faster connections, came to its conclusions regarding the extra power consumption by testing what it described as the standard Xfinity Hotspot setup for use in an office. The equipment sent to Connectify by Comcast included a Cisco DPC3008 cable modem and BelAir 20E Wi-Fi router, which broadcasts the Xfinity public hotspot.

In an experiment, Connectify connected two Microsoft Windows laptops to the Xfinity hotspot, with one streaming Netflix and the other downloading files. "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," the company said.

Connectify used the average cost of power in the Mid-Atlantic, which it said is $0.162 per kilowatt-hour, to calculate how much hosting a Xfinity Hotspot might cost a residential or business customer in terms of electric utility charges. Connectify said that in Philadelphia, where it is based, the cost could run up to $22.80 per year, or $1.90 per month.

Connectify initiated a change.org petition "to demand that Comcast offers increased Internet speeds to compensate their customers who are footing this bill for them." The company contends that at Comcast's going rate of $0.25 per one Mbps, anyone that hosts an Xfinity Home Wi-Fi Hotspot should get about 7.6 Mbps of extra speed in exchange.

On the petition site, Connectify wrote: "With the new public hotspots projected to be in millions of homes by the end of 2014, that translates to customers footing a bill upwards of $40,000,000 to roll out Comcast's public Wi-Fi network."

Notably, Connectify's allegations emerged the same week that the Society of Cable Television engineers, in league with Comcast and other cable operators, announced Energy 2020, a plan to develop new standards, technology, solutions and training to significantly cut the energy use and cost of cable networks by 2020.

Meanwhile, others remain concerned about security issues surrounding Comcast's neighborhood hotspot plan, particularly with regard to potential man-in-the-middle attacks. Ars Technica recently noted that an attacker could easily spoof both the "xfinitywifi" SSID and the Xfinity login page to get Xfinity credentials from devices set to automatically log into Xfinity public hotspots.

"By the way, those Xfinity Wi-Fi login credentials? They're the same set of credentials used to gain access to Comcast customers' account billing information, webmail, and other services," Ars Technica noted.

Similarly, Network World specified how a Wi-Fi Pineapple hacking tool would be used to create "hot-spot honeypots" targeting Xfinity users.

For more:
- see this Connectify blog post
- see this Ars Technica article
- see this Network World article

Related articles:
SCTE, cable operators pledge to reduce network energy use by 2020
Probing the security threat posed by AT&T and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots
Frontier lashes out at Comcast's consumer public Wi-Fi hot spot initiative
Connectify commercializes Speedify channel bonding service
Comcast's dual-signal gateway for businesses will expand its Wi-Fi footprint
Comcast planning 8 million Wi-Fi hotspots in 19 major cities by year-end
Turning home Wi-Fi into community hotspots: the ins and outs of a new trend

WiMax Forum Objects to “Citizens Band” on 3.65-3.70 GHz

The WiMAX Forum, the global body that certifies and promotes products based on the 802.16 standard, is urging the FCC not to include the 3.65-3.7 GHz spectrum band in the anticipated 3.55-3.65 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).

The 3.5G industry has already matured with 11 commercial networks globally, such as Relish in London, and the world’s first 3.5GHz Smartphone.

The 3.5 GHz Interest Group promotes LTE TDD spectrum bands 42 and 43. Global harmonization of 3.5 GHz spectrum will enable sharing of costs, particularly for chipsets and terminals.

The FCC hopes to add an additional 50 MHz from 3650-3700 MHz, in the Citizens Broadband Service. That includes incumbent WiMax operators. The proposed Citizens Broadband rules cover the spectrum between 3550 MHz and 3650 MHz, and the FCC seeks comment on extending the proposed service to 3700 MHz.

The FCC hopes to make 150 MHz available in the 3.5 GHz band and proposed a three-tiered access and sharing model comprised of federal and non-federal incumbents, priority access licensees, and general authorized access users.

The general public would be allowed access to the band on an “opportunistic basis” within designated geographic areas, but they would have to live with the interference caused by other users. Because the federal use in this band occurs primarily around the coasts, the FCC sees it as an opportunity for testing shared wireless broadband.

Small cells are a big driver of the new band, according to the FCC.

Current users in the 3650-3700 MHz band would be reclassified as general authorized access users. Incumbents in the 3.65 GHz band include Utilities and Oil and Gas companies, and hundreds of small Wireless Internet Service Providers mainly serving rural users.

“There are over 2,000 registrants currently in the 3.65 GHz FCC database, with over 100 Utilities as incumbent operators in this band,” said Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum. “The FCC is embarking on an innovative, but untested plan for spectrum sharing through dynamic spectrum management and the auctioning of one-year licenses for the 3.55 -3.65 GHz CBRS band.

“We simply advise caution from proceeding too rapidly into untested waters. Sandbox the innovation to the 3.55-3.65 GHz band, where such a novel approach is clearly necessary. There is time down the road to expand the CBRS with the additional 3.65 GHz spectrum if the new rules and processes work out,” concluded Byrne.

Still, some 50-60 percent of the U.S. population will not be able to use the 3.5 GHz band which is often used by million watt ship and aircraft radar. That generally eliminates commercial use along coasts and near DOD training sites. The Navy’s Aegis Spy Radar operates in S-band, from about 3.1 to 3.5 GHz using a 400 MHz wideband waveform constructed from ten 40 MHz bandwidth pulses frequency jumping from 3.1 to 3.5 GHz.

The 3.5 GHz Interest Group promotes LTE TDD spectrum bands 42 and 43. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service would essentially expand unlicensed frequencies, using spectrum sharing, with database technology similar to that developed for White Spaces.

Deployment of public access small cells will rise from under 30,000 in 2011 to 11.3 million in 2016, amounting to a capex spend of almost $4 billion, according to Maravedis, and will be partly driven by the availability of more spectrum, including 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band.

Another band being eyed for sharing between government users and commercial interests is the 4.9 GHz band, which consists of a contiguous block of 50 MHz located at 4940-4990 MHz and is currently designated for public-safety fixed and mobile uses.

In July 2012, a Presidential Commission recommended that the Federal Government identify 1,000 megahertz of federal spectrum for shared use to create “the first shared use spectrum superhighways.”

Related Dailywireless articles include; FCC Opens 3.5 GHz for Shared Access, FCC Boss Wheeler Pushes for 3.5 GHz Spectrum Sharing, FCC Paves Way for 3.5GHz Band Nationwide, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Sprint’s Dish Compromise, MetroPCS Merges with T-Mobile USA, T-Mobile Gets AWS Spectrum from Breakup, FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Spaces: Nationwide by Mid January, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed

WiMax Forum Objects to “Citizens Band” on 3.65-3.70 GHz

The WiMAX Forum, the global body that certifies and promotes products based on the 802.16 standard, is urging the FCC not to include the 3.65-3.7 GHz spectrum band in the anticipated 3.55-3.65 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS).

The 3.5G industry has already matured with 11 commercial networks globally, such as Relish in London, and the world’s first 3.5GHz Smartphone.

The 3.5 GHz Interest Group promotes LTE TDD spectrum bands 42 and 43. Global harmonization of 3.5 GHz spectrum will enable sharing of costs, particularly for chipsets and terminals.

The FCC hopes to add an additional 50 MHz from 3650-3700 MHz, in the Citizens Broadband Service. That includes incumbent WiMax operators. The proposed Citizens Broadband rules cover the spectrum between 3550 MHz and 3650 MHz, and the FCC seeks comment on extending the proposed service to 3700 MHz.

The FCC hopes to make 150 MHz available in the 3.5 GHz band and proposed a three-tiered access and sharing model comprised of federal and non-federal incumbents, priority access licensees, and general authorized access users.

The general public would be allowed access to the band on an “opportunistic basis” within designated geographic areas, but they would have to live with the interference caused by other users. Because the federal use in this band occurs primarily around the coasts, the FCC sees it as an opportunity for testing shared wireless broadband.

Small cells are a big driver of the new band, according to the FCC.

Current users in the 3650-3700 MHz band would be reclassified as general authorized access users. Incumbents in the 3.65 GHz band include Utilities and Oil and Gas companies, and hundreds of small Wireless Internet Service Providers mainly serving rural users.

“There are over 2,000 registrants currently in the 3.65 GHz FCC database, with over 100 Utilities as incumbent operators in this band,” said Declan Byrne, President of the WiMAX Forum. “The FCC is embarking on an innovative, but untested plan for spectrum sharing through dynamic spectrum management and the auctioning of one-year licenses for the 3.55 -3.65 GHz CBRS band.

“We simply advise caution from proceeding too rapidly into untested waters. Sandbox the innovation to the 3.55-3.65 GHz band, where such a novel approach is clearly necessary. There is time down the road to expand the CBRS with the additional 3.65 GHz spectrum if the new rules and processes work out,” concluded Byrne.

Still, some 50-60 percent of the U.S. population will not be able to use the 3.5 GHz band which is often used by million watt ship and aircraft radar. That generally eliminates commercial use along coasts and near DOD training sites. The Navy’s Aegis Spy Radar operates in S-band, from about 3.1 to 3.5 GHz using a 400 MHz wideband waveform constructed from ten 40 MHz bandwidth pulses frequency jumping from 3.1 to 3.5 GHz.

The 3.5 GHz Interest Group promotes LTE TDD spectrum bands 42 and 43. The Citizens Broadband Radio Service would essentially expand unlicensed frequencies, using spectrum sharing, with database technology similar to that developed for White Spaces.

Deployment of public access small cells will rise from under 30,000 in 2011 to 11.3 million in 2016, amounting to a capex spend of almost $4 billion, according to Maravedis, and will be partly driven by the availability of more spectrum, including 100MHz in the 3.5GHz band.

Another band being eyed for sharing between government users and commercial interests is the 4.9 GHz band, which consists of a contiguous block of 50 MHz located at 4940-4990 MHz and is currently designated for public-safety fixed and mobile uses.

In July 2012, a Presidential Commission recommended that the Federal Government identify 1,000 megahertz of federal spectrum for shared use to create “the first shared use spectrum superhighways.”

Related Dailywireless articles include; FCC Opens 3.5 GHz for Shared Access, FCC Boss Wheeler Pushes for 3.5 GHz Spectrum Sharing, FCC Paves Way for 3.5GHz Band Nationwide, FCC Dishes Dirt, Talks Up 3.5 GHz, FCC Limits Dish on LTE Terrestrial Spectrum, Dish: On the Move, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension, FCC Approves 2.3 GHz for AT&T, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Sprint’s Dish Compromise, MetroPCS Merges with T-Mobile USA, T-Mobile Gets AWS Spectrum from Breakup, FirstNet: The Asymetrical Threat, Spectrum War: Unlicensed, Shared and Auctioned, White Spaces: Nationwide by Mid January, FCC: TV Auction in 2014, Genachowski Lobbies for Unlicensed White Spaces, Universal Service Reform Passed

Telecom subscriber base in April 2014 stood at 935.81 million: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), the telecom subscriber base in India increased from 933 million at the end of March 2014 to 935.81 million at the end of April 2014, registering a monthly growth of 0.30 per cent.

The telecom industry added about 2.81 million users in period under review. The country’s wireless subscriber base increased from 904.51 million in March 2014 to 907.44 million at the end of April 2014 witnessing a growth of 0.32 per cent. However, fixed line subscriber base declined from 28.49 million in March 2014 to 28.36 million in April 2014.

Further, mobile services subscriber base in rural areas increased from 377.73 million in March 2014 to 379.52 million in April 2014. Meanwhile, subscriber base in urban areas increased from 555.26 million in March 2014 to 556.29 million in April 2014.

According to TRAI, as of April 2014, private operators held 89.36 per cent of the wireless subscriber market share, while state operators Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited together held 10.64 per cent market share.

Meanwhile, during April 2014, the broadband connections registered a growth of 1.45 per cent with the total broadband user base in the country increasing from 60.87 million in March 2014 to 61.74 million in April 2014. Further, wireless connections dominated the broadband segment with about 45.61 million subscribers compared to 14.86 million fixed line broadband subscribers. For the period under review, BSNL led the broadband market with 16.94 million users, followed by Bharti Airtel (12.84 million), Idea Cellular (7.45 million), Vodafone India (7.26 million) and Reliance Communications (7.15 million).