BT keeps quiet on Wi-Fi sharing talks

BT keeps quiet on Wi-Fi sharing talks

Summary: The telco does not deny rumoured tie-in with Wi-Fi-sharing community FON

TOPICS: Networking

BT is refusing to comment on reports that it is in talks with the Spanish Wi-Fi sharing network FON.

The telco has recently started promoting the use of Wi-Fi as part of its Fusion fixed/mobile broadband and mobile package. Because Fusion handsets also work in BT's Openzone hotspots, this has allowed BT to establish a mobile network based entirely on unlicensed spectrum.

Now, according to a Reuters article, the company is conducting secret negotiations with FON, a "community" whose users make their home Wi-Fi routers available for public use, thus creating a network of hotspots to which external users can log on for a fee. FON claims to be the largest such network in the world, although many ISPs — including BT — currently discourage its use.

On Monday, a spokesperson for BT told ZDNet UK: "We are interested in broadening our Wi-Fi footprint, but it's early days and we certainly don't have a deal with FON that we can talk about at the moment." The spokesperson also pointed out that BT's Wi-Fi footprint already comprises 2,000 Openzone hotspots, a burgeoning "wireless cities" programme and almost a million wireless home hubs.

If BT and FON do sign a deal, it is thought that those home hubs would be made available for public use, albeit with the consent of the BT subscriber in whose home the hub is installed.

Topic: Networking

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Erm NO

    I use BT with the HomeHub for both business and personal use, if BT thinks its going to open up my hub they can think again (no doubt BT would push this as an "opt out" as apposed to "opt in") .

    People who opt in SHOULD get a reduction in monthly payments, I use BT Fusion with the Nokia Handset and am very happy with it but my home network WILL NOT be used for public services.

    Well there's my 2pence worth.
  • Why not

    All of the WLAN machines on my home network are separately firewalled and communicate with each other and the other machines in my house over a VLAN. This way they can walk out of the house with no configuration changes whatsoever. Inorder that my guests can most easily use my WLAN and feel welcome and at home, the WLAM is not encrypted.

    As far as I'm concerned, if BT want to use my home WLAN as a public WLAN and will give me a suitable discount .. no worries.
    Andrew Meredith
  • For one day only...

    Head over to James Enck's fantastic blog <A HREF="">here</A> - a special FON offer for today (Wed 7th Feb 07) only. I signed up - interested to see what this FON service is like...
    David Meyer
  • not sure that link worked...
    David Meyer
  • 2-way deal ?

    I have a FON running in my home offering 4Mbps to FON visitors, and no way do I want BT customers using my Internet link for their calls for which BT are charging them for - albeit 1/4 of their regular call-rate.

    The FON commuity is about mutal sharing. If I am expected to allow BT customers to use my Internet, then I fully expect free Wi-Fi at all BT hotspots in return as I currently enjoy with FON.