Networking

Would you share your home Wi-Fi?

British Telecom has unveiled its new alliance with Fon, a wireless service which allows its members to connect to wireless access points around the world.

BT's three million broadband subscribers will be asked to join the community and a HomeHub firmware update will enable the service. The idea is that any roaming members of FON can connect and access the Internet for free. Rather than giving fully open access to the LAN, these users will be allocated 512 Kbit/s of downstream bandwidth-their activity will not count towards the owners' monthly bandwidth allowance. BT has assured people that they will know who has carried out any illegal activity and the network is secure. In return for opening up their access points, participating members will be able to access the FON network, their usage being recorded on their own account.

I'm not sure whether many people will want to sign up for this service. While BT may claim that it's secure I think a lot of people would rather hang back and see how it develops. That is, unless BT end up bamboozling users to opt-in by making it a default option for new users or by dressing it up somehow. The Register correctly pointed out that a similar Wi-Fi sharing initiative called Joltage only lasted a year before it fizzled away due to lack of participation. With big corporations like BT, Google, and Skype all backing it I don't think FON will disappear quite so quickly but only time can tell.

How do you feel about sharing your home Internet connection with the FON network? Would you trust it?

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