Dual-use routers such as Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Xfinity gateways, which operate as both home Wi-Fi routers and public hotspots, are rapidly gaining favor among cable and IPTV operators in the U.S. and Europe. In fact, one in three routers will function as "homespots" by 2017, according to a new Juniper Research report, reaching 366 million units installed worldwide.
However, finding out their equipment can be accessed by people they don't know may not sit well with subscribers, for whom security and privacy are big concerns. That could result in a backlash that would have negative impacts for homespot equipment.
"While most operators now allow consumers to opt-out, if they so wish, most consumers simply have no idea that their routers are being used in this way," said the report's author Gareth Owen. "Given the current concerns around privacy and data security, the realization that home routers can be accessed by complete strangers is unlikely to be viewed in a positive light." Release