This is why I use all my own equipment.
Makes me wonder how much longer this will be an option?
I use a Comcast-provided cable modem instead of buying my own. The sole reason for that is that I've had several cable modems die or otherwise fuck up in the past, and it's easier to pay the $7 a month to rent Comcast's modem and be able to swap out as often as is necessary. Modem overheats, lightning strike fries it, some shitty capacitor decides that 6 months is longer than it should ever have lived, WTF-ever, I'll just go exchange it. The rental fee is essentially insurance. Just last week I went and swapped out their old Thomson for an Arris, because the Thomson was on Comcast's EOL list and not DOCSIS 3.0 savvy. Had to figure that out on my own and go get a better model after my service started going to shit. The Arris is now giving far faster throughput for the wired PCs.
Wireless on my premises is handled by two bridged WRT54Gs (v6, patiently awaiting the revamped kickass offering that Belkin has promised since buying the Linksys line from Cisco) running dd-wrt. These of course are my own equipment and there's nothing Comcast can do to prevent me from using them. That really can never change, I can tweak their MAC addresses to whatever I want, there's ultimately no technical way for Comcast to impede me from running my own wireless routers for my own private use. The WLAN is locked down tighter than a twelve year old, ain't no guests or passers-by getting on there.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if Comcast begins issuing cable modems that come with a built-in wireless AP for their own hotspot purposes. I'm not talking about all-in-one modem/router devices, this is what they're already doing with those as per TFA, if you rely on Comcast's equipment for your home wifi network. I'm talking about the actual cable modem itself, it will have an onboard 802.11a/b/g/n radio. If they play their cards right, it won't even need an antenna, I'm sure Comcast has engineers who are well aware of the "leaky/unshielded coax, wifi, CB radio" issue and can put some decent gain enterprise grade antennae inside the service boxes at street demarcs. The majority of residential subdivisions are probably not subject to CB interference.
At some point in the future, they prohibit customers from purchasing and provisioning their own modems, and domination is complete: if you want Comcast internet, you must use a Comcast provided modem, which will act as a wifi hotspot whether you like it or not (aside from those of us who will open the box and fix that shit ourselves). To be honest, I'm surprised that "buy your own modem, call us up with its MAC, and we'll let it on the network" is an option even now, as it "robs" them of recurring revenue on the sunk expense of each modem. I presume there must be some law that forces them to allow this for the time being.
Give it a couple of years. All Comcast-provided cable modems will have a self-contained wifi AP, they'll eliminate the monthly modem rental charge "as a benefit to consumers," and if they're still required to allow customers to own CPE modems, there will be a fee for it.