If you haven’t heard of it yet, it won’t be long. And if you’re reading now, you’re about to be impressed. FON is Martin Varsavsky’s latest creation. It’s one of those ideas that makes you think, “Why didn’t I come up with that?” and then you sign up to join.
The idea is to make it possible for Wi-Fi users everywhere share there connection with anyone—anyone in the FON network that is. Of course, sharing has its benefits. You can either share the connection and always have a wifi access point available to you from other FONers (or Foneros) anywhere you go, or you can charge for your connection, splitting the earnings with FON. It’s quite simple and ingenious actually.
A few months ago, when it all began, this Spanish grown initiative was creating a buzz in the Spanish internet and traditional press. But as the commotion around FON has been escalating and users and access points mushrooming all over the global map, the FON idea is growing into the slogan its founders have given it—the FON movement! The FON movement has spreading into a Global community.
But why should this be of interest to you? Perhaps because so many other Varsavsky ideas have triumphed; or because it’s a concept that seems to be shaking up previous models; or because it’s the perfect idea given the social climate of the internet. If you’re not convinced, pay attention, because Google and Skype are.
Just 2 days ago, Varsavsky made a huge announcement on his blog. The FON movement has enlisted some very big names and swept up 18 million euro (over 21,560,000 USD) in investment from Google and Skype, as well as Sequoia Capital, and Index Ventures as investors and backers. Varsavsky, energized for another success, writes about the impressive newly acquired support:
“Our goal, after all, isn’t just to share bandwidth. It’s to use the power of people to people networks to create a global wireless network. What makes each of these firms great backers for us is that deep in their DNA is the idea of brand-new business models, tons of innovation and a commitment to making the digital world easier and cheaper. We feel the same way. So while we’re excited about (and responsible for!) their investment, we’re even more pleased to have their support.”
The question is of course, what will the ISPs have to say about it. So far, Varsavsky has confirmed support from the U.S. Speakeasy and Swedish Glocalnet.
But how many others will follow?
According to Roger Entner of Ovum, FON will run into obstacles. “That’s a great idea, but you are breaking the law…It is treating Wi-Fi as communal property when it is not.”
Lately we have been breathing an entirely new internet atmosphere. Internet usage is shifting; internet access increasing. It seems the perfect breeding ground for a FON… revolution.
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