Wi-Fi is, once again, the new hotness as netbooks and Wi-Fi-enabled phones proliferate. AT&T bought Wayport, expanding its Wi-Fi network to more than 80,000 worldwide. Verizon partnered with Boingo, bringing Wi-Fi networks to its FiOS and DSL customers. Cablevision’s Wi-Fi network has been very popular with its cable customers. Even FON, the Spanish Wi-Fi-sharing company with big-name backers, is still kicking around. But with Cablevision, AT&T, Verizon/Boingo, FON and T-Mobile all running their own Wi-Fi networks, is there really a market — or even a need — for independent networks? Venture capitalists seem to think so.
WeFi, a “global open Wi-Fi network” that helps connect users with free Wi-Fi hotspots to make it easy to log in and get working, announced today that it raised an unannounced amount of cash in a series B, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Pitango Venture Capital. This follows its last round more than a year and a half ago. Earlier this year, JiWire raised $11 million from Panorama Capital, among others. That company specializes in delivering ads to users of free Wi-Fi hotspots, along with running a hotspot network of its own.