As ZDNET reported, the UK government will not make an exception with its proposed Digital Economy Bill for public institutions offering “Open WiFi”. The Digital Economy Bill intends to crackdown on illegal downloads of copyright protected data. The bill suggests that ISPs could shut down a subscriber’s internet connection if the subscriber has repeatedly committed copyright infringement via his internet connection.

These penalties not only apply to individual subscribers, but also to institutions and businesses who leave their WiFi open to guests or members. This means, if a bar-owner leaves his WiFi open, and a customer accesses the internet and downloads content illegally, the bar owner will be held responsible. The ISP could even temporarily suspend the subscription. The same is true for libraries, universities and all kinds of shops. So, de facto, this would mean an end to open and unprotected WiFi in the UK.

That is bad news for anybody who wants to offer WiFi to their guests!

But, the good news is that FON can help!

FON service is unaffected by this bill as we comply with all the requirements of the UK government. FON does not offer open and anonymous WiFi access to the internet, but controls the access. Users who log on to FON need to be registered with FON. We know their identity confirmed by payment details such as credit card or phone number. We comply with all requirements of the UK Telco Regulation and collaborate with authorities if requested to identify copyright infringement cases. Just like other hotspot operators.

So, all a bar, café, shop or institution needs to do is use our Fonera WiFi router instead of an WiFi router with “open WiFi”. With a Fonera router, anyone can offer WiFi safely to their customers and not have to worry about copyright or other infringements. FON manages the access to the network.

The Fonera+ is available for purchase in the UK for just £29.95 at our FON Shop.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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