Wi-fi sharing outfit FON lands $14m funding as it targets the US

Qualcomm, Google and Deutsche Telekom are among those investing in the company.

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Wi-fi sharing network FON has picked up $14m in investment from companies including Qualcomm and Google.

FON, founded in 2006, bills itself as a "crowdsourced wi-fi" company: customers make some of their home bandwidth available for free to other Fon users, and in return, they can take advantage of those FON customers' wi-fi when out and about.

The Madrid -based company now has 12 million wi-fi hotspots worldwide – almost double the seven million it had this time last year - and deals in place with a number of telcos, including BT in the UK and Germany's Deutsche Telekom .

FON said on Monday it will use the funding to expand in the US, where it launched last year , and bolster its work on products including a small business play and a new music-focused router.

The router, due out in the first half of this year, will use a chipset from Qualcomm, which led the investment round. Qualcomm will repay the favour by including FON in the SDK for its Atheros chips, making it easier for router-makers to integrate FON services with their products.

FON's last router, the Simpl, allowed a FON user to share their wi-fi with their Facebook friends, once they've logged in with Facebook Connect.

Other investors in the round include Index Ventures, Google, Coral, Atomico and Deutsche Telekom.


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