Comcast has launched a new wireless network app that aims to make it easier for users to control and monitor their Wi-Fi usage. The United States' largest Internet service provider unveiled the Xfinity xFi on Monday - which is now available for free to 10 million of the company’s Xfinity Internet customers.
“The adoption and use of connected devices has grown dramatically," said Eric Schaefer, Comcast Cable's senior vice president, in a statement. "Comcast has created a solution that makes it easy to control and manage them. It’s a platform that will allow us to bring future innovations to our customers, address common pain points and vastly improve the way millions of people interact with their home Wi-Fi network.”
Like many companies, Comcast are trying to keep up with the rise of the smart home. By 2020, Americans will have an average of 50 connected devices in their homes. The new system gives customers the ability to see which of these devices are connected to the Wi-Fi and monitor their usage.
"We're investing in it because we know Wi-Fi usage is the future — and we want to improve that experience for our customers,” said Michelle Gilbert, a vice president of Comcast Michigan.
The app allows users to organize devices into groups so they can be tracked and monitored and Wi-Fi access can be controlled through the app. For example, each individual in the home can have a group that includes all of their own devices. The mobile version of the app also lets you control your home network when you are away from home.
It can also perform a wide variety of other functions, such as monitor what devices are on the network, detect and alert when new devices have joined the network, set passwords and establish parental controls. This allows parents to schedule access times for individual devices.
Comcast's broadband business grew 10.1 percent in the first quarter ended March 31.
In related news, Comcast and Charter Communications announced a new wireless partnership to work together on wireless communication plans.
Under the agreement, the two companies will not be able to make "material" transactions in the wireless space for a year without the other's consent. The material transactions may include acquisitions, investments or joint ventures that have a value of more than $200 million.
“By working with the team at Comcast, we can not only speed Charter's entry into the marketplace, it will also enable us to provide more competition and drive costs down for consumers at a similar national scale as current wireless operators," Charter Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said in a statement. "We look forward to working with Comcast through this innovative arrangement and bringing our focus on superior products and services, craftsmanship and quality customer care to the wireless space."
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