I live in Madrid, but I have a home in Manhattan where I am a Time Warner Cable customer. At the time I chose Time Warner Cable for my internet service (I have Cable TV as well, but rarely watch TV) because of its speed, which is so much better than its DSL competitor. But now I have another reason to be their customer. FON just announced a partnership with Time Warner Cable.

Needless to say, I am so happy that FON, which is mostly an American funded company (US partners include Google, eBay and Sequoia), teamed up with a major US ISP partner. Outside of USA these partnerships had been easier to accomplish, but somehow in the States there was the misperception that FON was bad for broadband providers. It took us a while to explain that this was not the case. Fortunately, the folks at Time Warner Cable had the vision to see what many ISPs in Asia and Europe had already seen. Their view, and now Time Warner’s, is that by teaming up with FON they will sell more broadband at no additional cost to them. The key here is that with FON you can securely share some bandwidth and roam the world for free but only if you are first a broadband customer. FON is free sharing among those who have already paid for their broadband. If you are not a broadband customer, FON is the most affordable WiFi in the States at $3 per first day and $2 for any additional days. But it’s not free.

ISPs like FON because it makes their bandwidth proposition more appetizing since clients pay at home and get to roam for free. They also like FON because it reduces churn (main reason for churn is travel but if clients disconnect from home they don’t roam the world for free anymore). In other words, FON invented the “I am rarely at home still I pay for broadband cause I use it for free when I travel”. Furthermore, ISPs like what FON represents to they customers: “community” as many ISPs appear as cold, non-community oriented. Finally, FON share revenues with partner ISPs whenever non-Foneros connect to one of the parnter ISP customer’s FONspots. Thus, the ISPs also make additional revenue of their cable ends.

FON had already teamed up with other cable companies, for example, CNS — the largest cable operator in Taiwan. But launching big time in the States with Time Warner Cable is a dream come true for FON.

I would like to thank Andrew Rasiej and Ejovi Nuwere for coming to the first meeting with Time Warner Cable with me; Joanna Rees, CEO of FON USA, for closing this partnership; and a special thanks to Carl Rosetti and the rest of the Time Warner Cable team for having the vision to join FON.

Time Warner Cable Partners With FON for WiFi Network
Partnership Enables Free WiFi Access Away from Home for Time Warner Cable Subscribers

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MADRID, Spain — April 23, 2007 — FON today announced a partnership with Time Warner Cable which allows Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers to access the world’s largest and fastest-growing WiFi network. The partnership specifically allows Time Warner Cable subscribers to become FON community members and create FON access points via their home or business broadband connection. Furthermore, the same subscribers would enjoy free WiFi access around the world, wherever FON has partner ISPs.

With nearly 60,000 FON community members in the U.S. alone, FON is the largest WiFi network in the United States. Hotspot providers are FON community members (called Foneros) who share their unused bandwidth via a FON router in exchange for free WiFi access when roaming through any other FON access point. Through this partnership, Time Warner Cable subscribers will have the opportunity to be members of the FON community and enjoy free unlimited WiFi access at any of FON’s partner ISP WiFi hotspots.

Time Warner Cable is an American cable television company that currently operates in 33 states, with 13.4 million basic cable subscribers and 6.6 million residential high-speed data subscribers. By partnering with FON, Time Warner Cable subscribers will benefit from being able to use next generation WiFi devices such as WiFi phones, game consoles and MP3 players, both inside and outside the home.

La Fonera router is secure out-of-the-box and offers two distinct WiFi channels. One channel is for the exclusive use of its owner; the second channel is shared with other Foneros. The La Fonera increases security through an encrypted private network and Foneros decide how much bandwidth to share. Public users cannot access the private network and there is no anonymous usage.

“We are pleased to welcome Time Warner Cable subscribers to the global FON community,” said Joanna Rees, CEO of FON U.S. “Success for FON depends on extending Internet access to our user bases outside the home or office without requiring individuals to rely on costly and problematic remote access solutions.”

About FON
FON is building the world’s largest WiFi community. Founded in 2006 in Madrid, Spain, FON’s mission is to stimulate growth of WiFi Internet access through its WiFi sharing community of “Foneros”. FON’s La Fonera WiFi routers, have been specifically designed to enable Foneros to share their home access points with the FON Community. In return for sharing, Foneros gain free WiFi access everywhere in the world. FON’s investors include Google, Skype, Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital. For more information, please go to www.fon.com.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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