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FON to team with Time Warner Cable

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FON, the share-your-Wi-Fi service company, that recently announced a new round of funding and partnership with British Telecom is rumored to be in close talks with Time Warner Cable, where FON software and service could be bundled with TWC’s broadband residential gateways. The news could be announced later this week.

FON also has similar agreements with Neuf of France and British Telecom in UK. One of the reasons why a cable provider like Time Warner Cable of other incumbents might be interested in FON is because they want to offer quad play services, and hope to use Wi-Fi-based telephony to fill out their offerings.

These incumbent partnerships should help the company build up some momentum, since the company has holes in its planned global footprint.


The Madrid-based company was started by Spanish telecom entrepreneur, Martin Varsavsky, who has managed to raise over $35 million for his start-up. The company has raised more funds, this time from Excite Japan and started selling its routers at the Sony Style shops.

Photo by Katie Fehrenbacher

Disclosure: GigaOM readers were offered FON routers for free as part of a special promotional offer.

11 Responses to “FON to team with Time Warner Cable”

  1. When I first started working at AOL back in 2003, I (internally) pitched this idea- allow ‘AOL for Broadband’ (remember that?) users to become WiFi gateways for AOL’s service. Other AOL users could use it for free (or cheap) and non-AOL subscribers would pay a low rate to connect. The more paid usage your gateway drove, the cheaper your service would get, all the way down to free.

    The idea never made it past two bosses up from me because AOL didn’t own the connection, just the service on top of it. Of course, in many cases the owner of the connection was Time Warner Cable, which one would think would be a natural partner- however, there was still a lot of bad blood within the company about the merger and it was often easier to work with non-Time Warner entities who didn’t hold the same grudge.

  2. congratulations FON

    Excellent marketing machine at FON. Seriously.

    There is free Wi-Fi available at so many places, but haven’t come across FON yet.

  3. An extra reason for a network to offer Fon-like services is that all in all it doesn’t cost them any extra. It can be as simple as a a software patch on an existing modem. Doing this gives users a bigger possibility of roaming with their laptops and other wifi enabled devices. It makes for a good salespitch: become our customer and we throw in X-million hotspots as well.

    I actually don’t understand why many networks aren’t doing this. The technology/standards are there. The hardware can handle it. The user understands the concept. You don’t need to use FON, since the basic standard is available. Opening up wireless for customers gives people an incentive to share in a secure manner, instead of the current open wifi access points with no authentication. It becomes easier to do lawful interception (again because of authentication). With the right software it should be able to define user profiles (eg. roamers only get x% bandwidth when I’m using it and a 100% when I don’t etc.) All in all, there are many wins from the no FON-like service situations and the only drawback I can see is, it might canibalize 3G mobile data. However that is a consideration for some, but not for all.

    BTW also have a look at the Eduroam initiative, which is doing a FON-like service for academia and is quite succesful.

  4. Awesome…it gives FON (I’m a Bill in the FON network) some legitimacy! People should get in on the FREE FON router deals now b4 Time Warner puts a stop to that!