Comcast running free Wi-Fi promo through July 4

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Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) plans to kick off a promotion on Friday in which it will offer free Wi-Fi service in New Jersey, California, Philadelphia and the greater Boston area, spokeswoman Jamila Patton told FierceCable.

The nation's largest cable MSO is using the free Wi-Fi offer, which will run through July 4, to attract new subscribers. Patton said when non-subscribers attempt to connect Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops to Comcast's Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots, they'll be prompted to click on a "Not an Xfinity Internet customer?" link on the sign-in page. Mobile Web surfers will be able to get free Wi-Fi access by selecting the "summer promotion" option from a drop-down list.

Timed to launch one day before Memorial Day weekend, the promotion could help Comcast market its Xfinity Internet service and other products on systems covering New Jersey Shore towns including Cape May, Long Branch and Perth Amboy, as well as several other cities in New Jersey. The company also has Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots in Cape Cod and cities in California including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, Stockton, Napa, Palo Alto, Burlingame and Santa Rosa.

Comcast hasn't put much marketing muscle into the free Wi-Fi promotion. The MSO didn't issue a press release about the promotion, but it did reach out to publications last week in New Jersey to tout the offer.

The strategy could help Comcast sign seasonal subscribers who rent homes in beach towns in New Jersey and other states, including parts of the Jersey Shore that are recovering from damage from Hurricane Sandy in November.

Comcast also offered free Wi-Fi access to non-subscribers last summer during the Summer Olympics, which helped drive multiplatform viewing of the event for subsidiary NBCUniversal.

Commentary: How Wi-Fi can hook triple-play subscribers

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