Monday, April 23, 2007
Time Warner Cable to Work with Fon
Sometimes a service provider simply has to cooperate with what might be seen as a direct competitor. So it is that Time Warner Cable is going to allow its users to create publicly accessible hotspots in cooperation with Fon, the company building a network of private Wi-Fi connections. Time Warner will allow its home broadband customers to turn their connections into public wireless hotspots, a practice U.S. ISPs generally have said is outside "fair use" policies. Verizon Communications Inc., for example, can terminate contracts if it finds an ad-hoc hotspot.
Fon and Time Warner will split the proceeds from use of Fon hotspots by non-members. That is expected to be $2 to $3 a day. Fon network users can offer free access to all other Foneros in exchange for reciprocal privileges, or can offer for-fee access.
The Fon wireless router splits a Wi-Fi connection in two: an encrypted channel for the Fonero and a public one for neighbors or other casual users. Foneros can decide how much of their bandwidth to share with the public and can log on to any Fon router without charge, in return. "Aliens," as Fon calls nonmembers, can register on a Web page and pay a modest $2 or $3 for 24 hours of access.
Fon has about 60,000 Foneros in the U.S.
Time Warner may be looking ahead to the not-so-distant future when some of the 300 or so municipal wireless projects featuring free or inexpensive broadband are available, as it operates systems in large cities where such muni Wi-Fi efforts are most pronounced.
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