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Comcast Faces Class Action Lawsuit for Secondary Public Wifi Network

Comcast Used Private Home Wifi Cost to Fund Public Wifi Network, Class Action Lawsuit Claims

A federal class action lawsuit was filed against Comcast in California, last Thursday December 4, 2014.  The class action suit accuses the internet service provider of forcing residential customers to purchase more expensive routers (that are potentially more vulnerable to security risks) in order to fund a secondary public wifi network.

The suit contends that by forcing its private residential customers to purchase these specific routers, the company’s new public wifi network violates competition fraud laws in the US.

Comcast saw a niche involving mobile phone wireless access that would allow it to compete with cellular companies like Verizon and AT&T. The company planned to create public wifi hotspots, which mobile phone users could access for a small fee. However, Comcast is not a phone company, and therefore does not have any cell towers. Instead of setting up the infrastructure for cell towers, the company decided to force its customers to purchase and use new wifi routers, which Comcast then used to create a wifi grid. The company ‘s plans included a stated goal of 8 million wifi hotspots by the end of 2014, the class action lawsuit claims.

In the complaint lead plaintiff, Toyer Grear, pointed out that the company states in their terms of service that they do not need customer authorization to use their residential equipment, even if such use puts the customers’ personal data at risk. “Indeed, Comcast’s contract with its customers is so vague that it is unclear as to whether Comcast even addresses this practice at all,” the lawsuit claims.

Comcast “has externalized the costs of its national wi-fi network onto its customers,” Grear’s complaint continues.

Grear added that the new routers also use much more electricity, a claim backed by tech company Speedify. Their tests on Comcast routers concluded that “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.”

Not only does Comcast push technology costs onto the consumer, but use of the wifi hotspots slows down residential customers’ internet speeds, and an open network can expose consumer data to hackers.

Grear seeks class action consolidation, requesting damages under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help Evaluate Your Class Action Litigation

Class Action cases we have handled include:

  • a case against the managed care industry on behalf of physicians for systematically undercutting physician claims for payment for seeing patients;
  • race-based life insurance cases against life insurance companies for charging African Americans higher rates for industrial life insurance;
  • consumer cases included suing finance companies for adding credit life insurance on to consumer loans;
  • numerous personal injuries due to one defective product;
  • a predatory lending case against the title loan industry;
  • a predatory lending case against the mortgage industry for systematically steering clients into subprime lending

The Class Action attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC understand the complexities surrounding class action lawsuits. Class actions and consumer protection cases can stem from an almost unlimited variety of misconduct or defective products. Contact our law firm today for a free review of the facts of your case.  803.252.4800.



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