Yes, you read it correctly: BT stands for British Telecom!!!

Ever since we started building FON, the largest WiFi community in the world, I have been explaining how FON is great for telcos and ISPs. BT, one of the world’s leading and most innovative telcos, has partnered with FON because it understands the value that FON gives to its customers.

So I am extremely proud to introduce you to the BT FON Community that BT and FON have built together in the U.K. BT recognized FON’s vision and understood how it would greatly benefit BT customers both at home in the U.K. and when abroad. It was amazing and refreshing to see how agile a telco giant could be in working with an innovative concept like the BT FON Community. Everyone at BT and FON has dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and effort in working closely together to make this new Wi-Fi community a reality.

The result is that now millions of BT broadband subscribers can automatically opt-in to the BT FON Community. That means a revolutionary number of places for you to get WiFi in the U.K. for FREE. We have done this by integrating FON into BT’s broadband platform and allowing BT users to share their Wi-Fi like the rest of us. And yes, of course, all Foneros who share Wi-Fi can now access all BT FON hotspots in the UK for free.

And there’s more great news. I’d like to announce that BT is also shareholder and partner in FON. BT is a fantastic addition to our roster of investors and highlights the on-going success of FON. We are now part of BT’s strategy to provide wireless broadband not just inside the home, but outside as well. Wireless broadband is central to BT’s consumer, business mobility, and convergence strategies, and enables customers to be better connected, anytime, anyplace, anywhere. The combination of BT Total Broadband and BT’s other wireless networks, and now with the BT FON Community, customers across the UK will be able to experience the benefits of broadband at home and everywhere else in the UK and across the world.

From the beginning we Foneros have believed in the concept of sharing and in citizens’ ability to participate in building something important that would benefit everyone. BT FON represents a huge leap forward in the Fonero goal of making WiFi available anytime, anywhere!

Thanks to all of you Foneros out there, and welcome to the U.K.!



You can also watch this video in Youtube

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Christopher on October 4, 2007  · 

Woohoo, thanks for making this happen Martin, hopefully means much more hotspots for us UK users… But are regular FON users allowed to access BT hotspots, and vice versa? I also just took a look at the BT Fon map and it doesn’t include the location of any normal Fon hotspots, and likewise Fon maps doesn’t include the BT ones. Are they meant to be a seperate network or will they eventually all show the same stuff with anyone connecting anywhere?

Thomas Kenyon on October 4, 2007  · 

I’m not sure if this is fantastic news (there are hundreds of thousands of BT Wireless routers out there) or really bad news.

I have spent a great deal of effort evicting BT services from here.

Roman on October 4, 2007  · 

Great news, indeed!

I’m still hoping for a similar announcement in Germany :)

Wolfgang Busch on October 4, 2007  · 

congratulatins!
i think with that deal more big players will accept the benefits from fon!

i am so sorry that i can not use fon here in germany as it is now to dangerous for users here to open a fon wifi ap.

we have now 4 court decisions in the 2nd instance here in germany, which gives a part of the responcibility for illegal actions on a broadband line to the owner of the broadbandline.

its stupied, all over in europe there are no such court decisions and everywhere its a great fun to use fon or to be a fonero, but here in germany… :-(((((

Wolf.

Martin Varsavsky on October 4, 2007  · 

Roman,

We hope to have something for you soon!

Martin Varsavsky on October 4, 2007  · 

Thomas,

Why would this be bad news? Millions of UK people can now go to their BT home page and simply say yes to be a fonero, they then share a little bandwidth at home and roam the world for free. And Foneros from all over the world will have a great time surfing in the UK.

Martin Varsavsky on October 4, 2007  · 

Christopher,

Yes! BT Foneros and Foneros share the same Fonspots!

Thomas Kenyon on October 4, 2007  · 

I’m more worried about how this affects BTs other Wireless network and their roaming agreements.

I’ve got this picture in my head of people being able to use Openzone / Cloudinternet /T-mobile accounts.

I’m probably more worried about (being an IT professional) I am regularly required to speak to BT, and to be frank as nice as most of their employees are, no matter what the process invovled, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

Jez on October 4, 2007  · 

As a lapsed Fon User (i moved house and just didn’t plug it back in… oops) I am really interested in this news! its great!
But one thing I would like to know..

Can I now go to a BT Openzone hotpsot and get FREE wireless access?? I am a Linus.. well, will be once I turn it back on :)

If I can THIS IS AMAZING NEWS !!! Well done!

Neil Dobbins on October 4, 2007  · 

Martin,

Firstly congratulations on the partnership. I’m sure it will be a huge step towards achieving a global reach for the FON community.

That said however, it is important to note that although outside of the UK BT is seen as an innovative, dynamic leader of the telecoms industry, inside the UK it is considered very differently.

By continuing to offer expensive and poorly support services, in recent years BT has lost it’s image as the reassuringly powerful and customer orientated organisation, to one that has had to make sever cut backs just to stay alive. This weekend I had my own experience with them (see http://neildobbins.com/bt-customer-service-is-terrible/) that left me completely amazed by how poor the service was.

From what I have seen so far, FON looks to be a great, dynamic and ambition company. I really hope that this sort of association does nothing to damage the brand.

Neil Dobbins

Roman on October 4, 2007  · 

Sounds promising Martin …

I just bought myself a new S60 Nokia phone. Now I regret that I did not chose one with WiFi.

I wonder if there is a way to check FON Maps on my phone or to import Fonspots into Nokia Maps?

Thomas Kenyon on October 5, 2007  · 

I didn’t think BT were allowed to be seen as innovative, since part of the privatisation deal meant that they couldn’t cross-subsidise (which is why the labs got sold off).

If you want to gague how popular BT are in the UK by it’s customers/employees/ex-employees , just take a cursory glance at uk.telecom.

There are certain companies who when they get involved I find it difficult to get excited, Oracle probably being another one.

Of course this is entirely my own opinion.

PH Langlois on October 5, 2007  · 

Congratulations Martin!

I’m looking forward to the see same partnerships in France with Orange / SFR / Bouygues

I really believe Fon can become the perfect wifi network for mobile users!

Thomas Kenyon on October 5, 2007  · 

Wasn’t there already a partnership in France with the second largest ISP in the country?

José Luis Criado on October 6, 2007  · 

HI Martin,

In case you did not see it yet…this is a Fonero absloute must ;)

Mark Jackson on August 29, 2008  · 

Seems to be a lot of BT FON related news around:

http://www.ispreview.co.uk/light.php?search=FON

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