WICKER PARK — The nearly 3-mile-long Bloomingdale Trail will not be unconnected from the Internet, thanks to a new addition of Comcast Xfinity hotspots, the network giant announced Monday.
Comcast executives announced the addition of 50 hotspots along the 606, a park system and 2.7 mile long Bloomingdale Trail that runs through several North Side neighborhoods.
Users can tap into the system for free twice a month for up to an hour each session. If they want to pay for additional time, they can choose to do so by the hour ($2.95), day ($7.95) or week ($19.95). More information is available here: http://wifi.xfinity.com/default.htm.
Existing Comcast Xfinity users will get unlimited access for free, with no time limits, a spokesman said.
Alisa Hauser spoke to some teens with mixed reactions about the WiFi:
Michael Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO, said in a statement: “With the reinvention of this former rail line to a multi-purpose trail that encourages fitness and recreation, adding internet access will add an extra benefit for our patrons.”
Currently 35 hotspots are installed and the remaining 15 spots will all be installed within the next two weeks, if not sooner, a spokesman said. Wifi will be available for almost the the entire trail and should reach the seating areas and entry parks, the spokesman added.
Trail users interviewed at the Damen Avenue rest area had different opinions on whether Internet access is needed on the trail.
"We have net at home, there is no reason to have it on the trail. This is where we go to chill, it's a spot to hang out," said teenager Melissa Hernandez.
"Why not? I will use it. Snapchat, music, apps. Better to come here than McDonald's," said Joe Vannie, while his friend Jose Nunez predicted "a better phone bill" if he uses the Xfinity WifI to play music because he goes over his data plan limit.
John Crowley, Comcast’s regional senior vice president, said 606 users "can save money by using Xfinity WiFi hot spots in lieu of their wireless data.”
The added spots can be found by using the Xfinity WiFi app for Android and iOS devices or by visiting www.xfinity.com/WiFi. To connect to Xfinity WiFi, select “xfinitywifi” or “CableWiFi” from the list of available WiFi networks.
Comcast also announced Monday that the number of Xfinity WiFi hot spots nationwide has surpassed 10 million, and in the company’s Greater Chicago Region, which includes Central and Northern Illinois, Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan, is approaching 900,000.
Comcast has installed nearly 1,000 WiFi hot spots in outdoor locations in Chicago, ranging from public gathering places and public transportation corridors to emerging enterprise zones.
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