Spanish firm aiming for wi-fi social revolution

27th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 June 2006, MADRID — A Spanish firm hopes to create a social movement which will allow easier and cheaper access to the Internet, it was reported on Tuesday.

27 June 2006

MADRID — A Spanish firm hopes to create a social movement which will  allow easier and cheaper access to the Internet, it was reported on Tuesday.

Fon is to sell subsidised routers as part of a plan to turn domestic wi-fi networks into public hotspots.

It will sell wi-fi routers, which allow people to surf the net wirelessly, for EUR 3.96, the BBC reported.

The company, which has financial backing from Google and Skype, aims to create public wi-fi networks street by street across Europe and in the US.

"Wi-fi is universal in cities, but access isn't," said Juergen Urbanski, Fon spokesman.

Urbanski said Fon was aiming to have 50,000 working hotspots worldwide by September, 150,000 by year-end and one million hotspots by the end of 2007.

To date, 54,000 people worldwide have signed up to become "foneros," up from 3,000 in February, according to the company.

The company is hoping to create a "social movement" as well as a business.
 
The router offer is designed to overcome obstacles to helping consumers quickly set up hotspots using Fon software.

In exchange for receiving a router, users must agree to share their wireless connections with other Fon users for 12 months, the company said.

Users register their router with Fon via a PC which then lets other people access their wi-fi network safely - if they can pick up the signals from outside their homes.

"We are changing the economics of wi-fi," Urbanski said during a conference in San Francisco. "We are just piggy-backing on the back of existing wi-fi connections."

But Fon faces challenges - from technical limitations to legal obstacles.

Current wi-fi networks have a limited operating range and Fon will need an army of "foneros" if the public hotspots they are advocating take off.

They will also face a challenge from firms planning to offer free, ubiquitous wi-fi in cities such as San Francisco.

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and broadband carriers are also unwilling to allow a user's private broadband connection to be used publicly.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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