Together with FON, our partner BT, has reached its goal of building a million-strong WiFi hotspot network in the UK. The vast majority (more than 85%) of BT’s WiFi hotspots are BT FON hotspots and a direct result of a vision Ian Livingston, BT’s CEO, and Gavin Patterson, BT’s CEO Retail, and I, FON’s CEO, had just three years ago.

Back then BT only had some Openzone hotspots in commercial areas. In order to quickly build a truly ubiquitous WiFi network in the UK, BT needed a new approach. BT needed FON.

Teaming up with FON, BT added FON WiFi sharing functionality directly into BT Home Hubs. This made it easy for BT subscribers to become members of the FON community. As members, BT broadband customers who elect to safely share a little of their home WiFi with others, get access to the world’s largest WiFi network in return. Instantly, BT customers who opted in to FON received more access to WiFi, and the joint BT FON network took off, growing faster than anyone expected. In the past six months alone, BT’s WiFi network has doubled. We expect it to continue growing even faster in 2010, thanks in large part to FON.

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steven on March 15, 2010  · 

Not so big…. Your other partner Neuf has created 2 mio hotspots (source :…. twice the BTfon network
regretfully only 100.000 of their hotspots joined the FON network …. The french have an opt-in policy…. the english have an opt-out policy.

Also I was unable to find any BTFon spot in London…luckily there was free wifi in Pancreas station and McDonalds.
I did find Bt Openzone…but I was unable to connect for free though with my FON credentials 🙁 …

Also Wefi only knows about The Cloud and BTOpenzone spots (premium places) in London…

3.0 rating

steven on March 16, 2010  · 

Last summer (august 2009) Comstar congratulated the 1500th Russian Fonero

In October 2009 there were still only 600 Russians officially according to registered member… Response of FON we could be a few months “off”

On 13 march 2010 Comstar finally send the correct numbers to FON so they could update ….there are now 1077 registered and 1653 sold foneras…

According to Martin it would end 2009 with 30.000 registered FONspots:
“We might have been a bit over enthousiastic back then”

Martin claims to have no secrets about numbers… but they are updated manually and made vagely just like our politicians do this with unemployment statistics…

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Martin Varsavsky on March 17, 2010  · 

In business you start with a plan, and you try to implement it, and sometimes you run into obstacles and indeed our Russian deployment has been slower than we would have liked. As you see what I wrote back then was that we were “planning” to establish 30K fonspots. This is my blog, I share my objectives, sometimes my dreams. This is not Bloomberg. Sometimes I am right on my projections, and sometimes wrong.

Charbax on March 17, 2010  · 

About a year ago when I tried to connect to BT (or BT OpenZone, I don’t remember) at the Gatwick or Luton airport (I don’t remember), it was not part of FON sharing. And I could not use my FON credits to pay for access on it automatically, I could login using FON credentials, but then had to pay using a credit card some ridiculously expensive amount just to check my emails for 5 minutes before boarding.

It’d be nice if you could convince BT to make all their commercial hotspots available either for free or for cheap affordable roaming costs and where a one-click automatic roaming payment happen when logging in using FON credentials and if there is credits available from Aliens having paid on ones Fonspot.

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Martin Varsavsky on March 17, 2010  · 

BTfoneros can connect to BTOpen Zone. But unfortunately we have not been able to extend this to all Foneros yet.

steven on March 17, 2010  · 

There is a difference:
* FON Ads (10minute free) is not available in the UK (bad luck for sponsors, bad luck for aliens)
* 10 euro reduction (Fonera Gets Fonera) is not available in the UK
* People that are going to resell their O2/Virgin/Other UK Internet to BT by buying a fonera+ at full price will get a device with no UK plug and 120 minutes on BT openzone premium locations (limited in time…. 6 months since first use?)

* BT customers can choose between 3 “option” plans varying from 15.99 pound to 24.99 pound
Option 1 – They can use upto 250 minutes per month on the 1 mio FONspots
Option 2 – They can have upto 350 minutes per month on the 1 mio FONspots
Option 3 – They can have unlimited minutes per month on the 1 mio FONspots and 500 minutes on BTOpenzone Premium locations

UK people can not get 50% of the sold vouchers to aliens…. this goes to BT

I’m curious that O2/Virgin haven’t yet complained that BT is reselling their internet access as “BT Openzone”
But tells me only +- 1300 UK people have bought a Fonera+. … the 999.000 others are BT customers that have a BT HOME HUB and have not yet opt-out of this service

source: smallprint on

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steven on March 17, 2010  · 

Yes… but the problem is you do not update those “sales pipelines” to the outside world…

if one googles it will see the blog talking about 30.000 fonspots… and when someone visits that country notice they aren’t there… and there is no update on your blog or fon website…

On the Japanese FON blog I find “apologies” when something goes wrong… part of their culture…
on the FON websites it’s ‘tucked’ away…

Eg only the English FON website is still marketing the PeekFON…it has disappeared from all other (French/German…) FON websites. Are you going to sell it only in the UK or to Americans visiting Europe?

We don’t want to see you fail, we only want to see the reality of FON’s latest decisions as it doesn’t communicate these to it’s community…. Everybody that is sharing their internet with (a) FON(era) can be considered a shareholder. But are never told of (negative?) changes in the network by FON. For these things you might start using TWITTER… (Yes I follow FONCare)

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alex on March 17, 2010  · 

(this is alex from fon)

I am surprised we get this kind of comments, when we communicate that BT-FON has passed 850k sharing members. You share one (or knowing you as a good Fonero, you probably have 3-5 Foneras) connection in Belgium, and you can get access to 850k FON Spots in the UK.

I believe it’s good news for Foneros including yourself!

Why could we not communicate this before and keep you updated? I think i shared the reason for that before with you personally. BT is a stock-quoted company. All announcements regarding numbers need to be approved. BT’s plan was to wait with the announcement till 1 Mio BT-Hotspots. FON is a good partner – we will certainly not break our agreements with BT (or other partners for that matter) of complying with their communication guidelines.

Now, regarding your experience in the UK of not being able to connect. While the BT-FON experience is not perfect, you should find a (many) BT-FON spot when you walk around for example in London. When you are not able to connect, this could be because you are too far from the Fonera.

But, that again is FONs mission. To create more FON Spots so the user experience for all of us gets better.

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steven on March 18, 2010  · 

I’ve got more than 100 fonera accounts incl a btfon account; I also have more than 20 foneras running; and preparing for another FONdemo…. What’s your planning?

I’m not interested in BT progress, we are all interested in FON progress…
which is not communicated at all.
Everybody can add “bug’s”, open “tickets”, send “advise”, (martin: send “money”) …
but they are “autoclosed” and martin will say “look how good our computer autocloses these bugs/tickets/…”

FON never replaced a Florian & William to keep a communication channel open to the community. Their sites are silently getting outdated… Fon The Revolution… Spread-Fon …

3.0 rating

ann on March 20, 2010  · 

I’m not interested in BT progress, we are all interested in FON progress..

3.0 rating

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