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?


Yes, if I was assured it could be secure. Actually I would allow a neighbor access now if I've known them for a while and they are trustworthy. Even better if they would split the cost but AT&T wouldn't like that. :)


I have been sharing my wifi with the FON network for over a year (Midwest, USA). I bought an additional FON wifi router and stuck it on a separate subnet on my network. I manage the bandwidth and have never had a problem but have had few connect to it since relocating to the suburbs of the Greater Kansas City area. Initially when I began participating I was living in a downtown area of a small town. There wasn't public wifi for people and I thought it would be great if I was visiting the town to be able to connect to wifi while sitting on a park bench so I decided to share mine. The perk for sharing mine is that I can use someone else's in the FON network if I travel without having to pay ungodly daily or hourly wifi costs. I actually look on the FON maps to see where someone might be sharing when making plans for hanging out when out of town. I might have issue with sharing my internet connection if it was just a neighbor constantly mooching and never giving back, but you can't just connect for free, you either have to share or pay for the connection. I don't think standard moochers will continue to pay daily fees when the cost of their own broadband in the long run would be cheaper. I have seen nothing but benefits by sharing my wifi and will continue to do so. I think the FON network is an amazing idea and I hope if flourishes.

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