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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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Written by Jo Best on

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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