Time Warner has Fon

24 Apr 2007

Time Warner Cable has become the first major US carrier to ink a deal with Spanish start-up Fon which will allow the former’s broadband customers to share their internet bandwidth via a Wi-Fi connection. Under the deal, Fon will distribute its branded Wi-Fi routers via Time Warner. The routers split a home broadband connection in two: one secure channel for the connection owner – who is called a ‘Fonero’ – and a second channel which is available to neighbours and passers by. The customer can decide how much bandwidth they want to share. Foneros can gain free access at any Fon access point, while non-members – or ‘Aliens’ as the company calls them – can pay a fee of around USD2 or USD3 for 24 hour’s access, well below the market rate for public Wi-Fi access from the likes of T-Mobile or Wayport. Time Warner expects the deal with Fon to increase broadband take-up and improve customer retention in the face of growing competition from municipal wireless networks and soon-to-be-launched WiMAX systems. Associated Press reports that Fon currently has around 60,000 Foneros in the US and around 370,000 worldwide.