A Spanish start-up is making headway in achieving its aspiration of spreading free WiFi internet access around the world, TechCrunch reports.
The company, called Fon , works by creating a sort of exchange for WiFi users. They sell you the WiFi box and then give you the opportunity to either swap free access to your box to other Foneros in return for access to theirs, or you can charge people to access your network, with the proceeds split 50/50 with Fon.
Fon has been having particular success partnering with telcos such as BT in Britain and Neuf in France. The telcos are happy with Fon because it brings new users to buy their broadband subscriptions, while Fon gets to take advantage of their superior marketing and distribution channels.
“As far as our strategy, more and more we are collaborating with large telcos, which pundits wrongly thought were going to be our enemies. And that is because we have proven that a Fonero is a more loyal bandwidth customer as he gets to roam for free,” Fon founder Martin Varsavsky says.
Fon reportedly already has 170,000 connected WiFi routers worldwide, with most users in Britain, Japan, France, Germany, and the US. And they are now set to launch a new expansion campaign to countries like Russia, just having raised an additional $US9.5 million in investment on top of the $US40 million it has already raised.