Spanish company Fon is aiming to create a Wi-Fi commune around the world, offering a Wi-Fi router for just £2.75 if you’re prepared to share your connection outside your home to create a streetwide and eventually global public hotspot.
The company, which has financial backing from Google and Skype, is 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.
Users install software on their home PCs which then lets other people access their wi-fi network safely – if they can pick up the signals from outside their homes. In exchange for receiving a router, users must agree to share their connections with other Fon users for 12 months.
There are problems with creating such a network – firstly, to make it work, the company will need a huge uptake of the devices. In addition, ISPs and other broadband carriers are unwilling to allow a private conection to be used publicy. But it’s certainly an interesting way to create a Wi-Fi network, especially away from the city centres.