Several Internet Service Providers in the United States use subscribers’ cable modems to broadcast free WiFi hotspots to other customers in the area. While notes about this practice are always buried somewhere in terms and conditions or other notices, subscribers are often unaware of this practice. And as might be expected, they’re often taken aback when they learn for the first time that their Internet connections are being used to provide strangers with free WiFi.

Earlier this year, Comcast subscribers in Minnesota were surprised to learn that their modems were broadcasting free WiFi to anyone and everyone nearby who might be a Comcast customer. While ISPs claim these free WiFi networks are secure and completely separate from consumers’ home Internet service, the continued threat from hackers who find new ways to steal our data is a concern that might still weighs heavy.

Now, customers are being reminded once again that Cablevision will also use its customers’ home Internet modems to broadcast free WiFi hotspots.

As reported by LightReading, Cablevision confirmed during its recent earnings call that it is upgrading its Optimum Online modems in order to add free WiFi hotspot functionality. Once the upgrades are complete, Cablevision says it will offer more than 1 million WiFi hotspots across the country.

It should be noted that Optimum Online subscribers will have the ability to disable the free public hotspot feature on their modems.

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.