Next Tuesday at 10:30 I am hosting a Fonero brunch in Berlin. The purpose of this brunch is to brainstorm on how we can grow Fon in Germany so there´s more free WiFi available to Foneros. Until now UK and France have grown considerably more than Germany and it is my interest to get ideas from German Foneros what Fon can do to grow faster in Germany. I will also share my views on the start up scene post financial collapse.

If you want to attend the brunch, please RSVP here. It is at Cookie´s Cream Restaurant in Friedrichsstrasse.

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Lucia on October 16, 2008  · 

Hola Martin,
vivo en Berlin y me encantaria atender el evento y conocerte, ya que sigo tu blog desde que lo empezaste prácticamente.
En la página del evento en facebook no aparece muy clara la dirección donde se encuentra el café para el brunch, puedes aclarar ese punto, bien en el mismo facebook o por correo?
Muchas gracias y un saludo,

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fonero on October 16, 2008  · 

why is UK and France so successful? The answer is very easy: because the contracts with BT and NEUF. So if you would have succeeded a cooperation with a big german ISP, the numbers in germany would also be as high as they are in UK and FR…. it´s very easy to explain, but it seems really hard to achieve….

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Rodrigo on October 16, 2008  · 


un motivo por el que creo que Fon no crece tan rápido es la falta de certitud legal respecto a compartir la conexión en Alemania. Recuerda que aquí uno es responsable por lo que ocurra en su conexión (por eso es obligatorio el tener su WLAN codificada) y en uno reside la obligación de demostrar su inocencia si alguien llegase a usar tu acceso para cometer un delito. Creo que Fon debería buscar informar y dejar en claro la situación legal del concepto Fon en Alemania y en dado caso ofrecer asesoría legal a aquel que se pueda ver involucrado en la situación antes mencionada.
Por cierto, ¿por qué será en Berlin si tus oficinas estan en Munich?, ¿no piensas venir a Munich?

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WiFi Romania on October 16, 2008  · 

why don’t you create such a brainstorm online, so all Foneros can colaborate and make FON better?
I’ve sent you an email a few weeks ago and I haven’t received any anwser. any idea why?

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Rami Morante on October 17, 2008  · 

Hi Martin.
Queda sitio para el brunch and Friedrichstr? Me acabo de enterar y me gustaria saber acerca de FON, sus utilidades y posible colaboracion con nuestra empresa, para España y Alemania inicialmente…
Hazme saber si puedes al respecto.

Un saludos cordial desde Berlin,

Rami Morante

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Christian Falter on October 17, 2008  · 

IMHO the reply from “fonero” says it all – a cooperation with a mayor ISP is missing in Germany ! But besides that there are a few other reasons – I would like to attend the brainstorm in Berlin to explain my point of view !

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Martin Varsavsky on October 17, 2008  · 

@ Christian Falter:

thanks Christian! we need good feedback on how we can grow Fon in Germany

a collaboration with an ISP is very important but in Japan for example we still don´t have one and we have grown almost to the size of France and UK just selling Foneras

Martin Varsavsky on October 17, 2008  · 

@ Rami Morante:

si queda sitio!

Martin Varsavsky on October 17, 2008  · 

@ WiFi Romania:

We could do that, and we have a Wiki but we find that each country has its peculiarities

In any case please feel free to write to me at and we will also include your ideas.

Martin Varsavsky on October 17, 2008  · 

@ Rodrigo:

Maybe Fon does not grow quickly in Germany because people wrongly believe that if somebody did something illegal through their connection Fon could not show the police that the traffic went through the public and not the encrypted network but we can. And in over 2 years we have not had a single problem.

Martin Varsavsky on October 17, 2008  · 

@ fonero:

we keep trying with German ISPs but in Japan we don´t have any ISP deals and we grow very fast!

Rami Morante on October 17, 2008  · 

Gracias, te debo un asado 😉

Rami Morante

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Horst on October 17, 2008  · 

Hi Martin

keep in mind that it is law in Germany that an ISP Customer is resposible for any unlawfull action entering the Internet via its account. If you don’t encrypt your Wifi with WPA you can be fined for Supporting a criminal Act. So in Germay you will see no open Wifi.
Some Wifi Companys like “Hotsplots” use a OpenVPN Uplink for the Wifi Routers. So the Officals can not locate the ISP Customer. They could only see the Hotsplots IP because every Wifi User is going through the VPN Tunnel into the Net.

It would be nice to meet you in Berlin but why could i only inquire via Facebook? No full clearly considering Internetuser would ever use such a “privacy suboptimal” Plattform.

Best Regards from rainy Germany
Yours Horst

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mike on October 18, 2008  · 

not sure about Berlin, but in Munich most bars offer wifi for free, specially in the university area. fon value prop has limited value then.

are you aiming to cover airports and hotels through partnerships? that would increase its value tremendously for biz travellers.

have fun at the web 2.0 conference. I am skipping it this year as we have been hearing the same stuff in the past two years over and over…too many conferences.

btw, sailed along Afrodite this past August in Menorca…I didn’t know it was yours. nice boat.


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olebole on October 18, 2008  · 

Dear Martin,

I wish I could take part on your brunch, but unfortunately at the time you can have breakfast I already need to work for my money 🙂 So my 2 cents here:

I could imagine that one of the reasons (although probably not the top one) is the poor PR work in Germany. An example: in the german wikipedia entry of FON, you find an warning about the neutrality of the entry — not because of the critical germans but because of the corporate editor who tries to remove anything that could be counted as “critical” there (look to the entry history to get details on that).
Another example is the poor quality of the german FON blog in the past and the inability of the founding blogger to take any critics. In the german boards, you will find many discussions about this, some of them going out of scale by the help of this blogger (who sometimes tries to provocate under a pseudonym). These discussions overwrite much of the positive influence that comes from german foneros so that the public reception when looking into the blog, reading the board discussions and looking into the depths of wikipedia is quite poor. To be fair, the blog quality and discussion culture improved much in the last month when Axel and Gordon overtook the blog leadership, but there is still a long way to go.

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arnold bruse on October 18, 2008  · 

watching the scene for a long time just only one remark about ” olebole ” living in Berlin. this guy is sysadmin and professional technical documentarist. this guy is constantly querulous from the very beginning from FON – very sure his name is well known in Madrid (ask Axel & others pls). He is one of only a few notorious guys compared to thousands of happy german foneros (same caliber eg. is ” Kyros ” from Wireless Community Vienna a 2men collaboration founded together with ” erwin ” making buzz and trouble only initiating disguising anti-fon articles and anti-fon actions in the past….) seeking attraction and attention only. Olebole is well known as a strong fellow of FREIFUNK community berlin and a programmer of olsr meshing software and therefore he constantly tries bashing the FON idea! His motivations? Because of it´s success but Freifunk as all voluntary projects sucks a lot because lack of economics. I suppose in all countries where fon is represented such guys tries to enter the scene. thats a normal collateral phenomenon being successful. an additional remark about quality of german blog hasn´t improved in the last few weeks because it seems to be convertend into an echo blogging service about wimax citating only press releases and google translated articles always “forgetting” links to the original articles…

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Rami Morante on October 18, 2008  · 

hola Martin,

sorry por molestar sabado de tarde! es que estoy en la oficina, revisando todo para la semana que viene, expo, y demas cosas, y me puse hace un rato a ver que podiamos hacer con Fon (y pensar porque no se desarrolla rapido aqui, mas alla de que los alemanes son un poquito bodrio para algunas cosas…), y la verdad que si fuese posible lo que pense, sería lo ideal que andababamos buscando hace tiempo! estamos en tiempo de cooperaciones y partnerships y Fon seria un angel en esto! te deje mas detalles de la idea en el email… espero poder charlar un poco al respecto el martes aqui en Berlin…


rami morante

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olebole on October 19, 2008  · 

Dear Martin,

your collegue arnold bause distributes lies about my identity (I am not a Freifunk member and not a olsrd programmer). I would ask you to remove all personal details about my identity from his comment. I can give you my name and details if you want, but I dont want to have them published in a blog comment, may they correct or wrong.

Best regards


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