From CNN Money:
NEW YORK (FORTUNE) - Aiming to increase access to the Internet, particularly for people away from home, Google, Skype and other leading Internet investors Sunday announced a $21.5 million investment in an innovative new Internet access network called Fon.
The company, founded by Spanish entrepreneur Martin Varsavsky, aims to build a network of WiFi hotspots far larger than those from companies like T-Mobile and Swisscom, none of which have more than 30,000 hotspots worldwide.
Fon aims to exceed that in its first year, and to have one million hotspots in four years. It hopes to achieve this by getting individuals and businesses to contribute their own hotspots to the network in exchange for getting access wherever they go. Those who contribute access get to use the access of others.
If Fon comes through with a simple-to-install and manage setup I can see this idea really gaining traction — it sounds like he's got the right level of incentive to end-users who donate their bandwidth, and the technology for charging non-members for hotspots is already tried & tested. (Heck, if it works well I'd pay $25 just to get his "use only 50% of your bandwidth on outsiders" software; I keep thinking something like that must exist, but I've yet to find one.)
Long as he can jump-start the process and can convince ISPs to let him in on a racket they'd love to control themselves I'd say he's got a good chance. (I see he's already signed on Speakeasy in the US, though they also have one of the most liberal wireless sharing policies around so others may be a harder sell.)Posted by bug to Media Technology at February 6, 2006 6:23 PM | TrackBack