Comcast, which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg, has launched Xfinity Wi-Fi in the Chicago and suburban area.
Comcast customers can access about 100,000 hot spots nationwide, including more than 1,000 in Chicago and the suburbs for free, said company spokesman Jack Segel.
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More hot spots are being added daily, he said.
While other companies already offer Wi-Fi services, Comcast believes that this is the best time to launch the service, said Segel.
"So many people use our service on mobile devices and download and stream content on the go. It only made sense to provide it now," he said.
All mobile users, even those who do not subscribe to Comcast, can use Xfinity Wi-Fi for free starting Friday through July 4. After that, non-Comcast Internet customers can try Xfinity Wi-Fi via two free 60-minute sessions per month, the company said.
Beyond that usage, non-Comcast customers will pay $2.95 per hour, $7.95 per day or $19.95 per week, said Segal.
To find the Wi-Fi hot spots, mobile users need to download the Xfinity Wi-Fi app available for Android and iOS devices. The app will be updated regularly with the latest hot spot locations.
To access hot spots, customers should search for "Xfinitywifi" or "CableWiFi" on the list of available Wi-Fi networks on their computers and mobile devices.
Once customers log in to either of these networks, they will be connected automatically the next time they are in range.
Customers also can visit www.xfinity.com/WiFi to locate hot spots and learn more about Xfinity Wi-Fi.