If you’re not willing to fork out up to £50/month on unlimited internet for your phone, then you likely have to play the data-rationing game towards the end of each month. You’re well-practised in emergency Twitter-abstinence and you’re accustomed to train journeys with no podcast or playlist to keep you company. But did you know that you could be helping yourself by crowdsourcing WiFi on the go? Fon is a company that aims to blanket the world in fast, accessible WiFi by splitting home networks into private and public signals; it operates on a ‘one for me, one for the stranger outside my house’ basis.
Here’s how it works. Users (dubbed ‘Foneros’) start by sharing a bit of their bandwidth by installing a special wireless router. In turn, they are granted access to a vast network of… networks. Additionally, those that aren’t keen on hosting their own public hub are allowed a slice of the pie too, if they buy a connection pass. Prices for these start from £5/hour so you may as well stick to overshooting your phone’s data allowance, but the good news is that some of the money goes to the hotspot’s owner.
Fon have now established over 20 million hotspots worldwide and continue to broaden their strategic partnerships with telecommunications companies (they’re now bedfellows with SFR, BT, Belgacom and Telstra to name a few). Last year even saw Fon diversify with the release of Gramofon, a popular multi-room music streaming system that poses a threat to Sonos.
The Bottom Line: Fon’s 20-million-strong hotspot network has managed to earn the internet its own seat at the sharing economy table. Check their global coverage here – you won’t be disappointed.