BT and Fon creates WiFi community in UK



BT and Fon have come together to create what is known as the largest WiFi community in the world. Before we delve into this piece of news a little further, here’s some background information to get you guys started. Fon was founded in Spain early last year, and broadband users who sign up with Fon’s community have all agreed to share their WiFi connection via a separate, secure channel. This is made possible after being offered a 50% cut of the fees charged to their visitors, or in exchange for the privilege of being able to surf other users’ connections without paying a single cent. Since then, the community has evolved to be more altruistic, allowing members to do both. The main hindrance that is preventing this from taking off is resistance from Internet service providers who tend to have terms and conditions that prohibit the sharing of broadband connections. That is, until, BT decided otherwise.

The largest ISP in the UK has given the nod to this business model, effectively extending its Openzone WiFi network across the 3 million BT Home Hubs, although I’m pretty sure that not all BT Home Hubs users would agree to share their broadband connection with people whom they don’t know. There is nothing concrete concerning the remuneration (if any) BT users will benefit from by doing so, although word on the street has it that they will be able to access BT’s new nationwide wireless network including Fon’s global network of more than 200,000 hotspots. It still remains to be seen whether BT’s existing business customers will be offered a similar deal.

According to Gavin Patterson, the managing director of BT Group, “This is the start of something very exciting for BT. Today we are launching a people’s network of Wi-Fi, which could one day cover every street in Britain. We are giving our millions of Total Broadband customers a choice and an opportunity. If they are prepared to securely share a little of their broadband, they can share the broadband at hundreds of thousands of Fon and BT Openzone hot spots today, without paying a penny. We have built a public WiFi network and 12 wireless cities already, but today, we are saying to customers: let’s build a Wi-Fi community together, which covers everywhere and serves everyone.” I’m definitely all for such a business model, and agree that it can’t roll out fast enough.


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