The FON model works!!! Our strategy to make FON expand quickly throughout Europe and enable people who share their bandwidth to connect their wireless devices everywhere for free is picking up steam.
One aspect of this strategy is to blog the idea, so when the software is online next week in “Linus version”, Linuses can download the software and start sharing their bandwidth between eachother. We already have 1500 subscribed users for next week’s launch. The other aspect is to start making deals with ADSL operators. Like I said before, we’re close to an agreement with Jazztel.
In Sweden, I made two oral agreements that we hope to sign in less than a month with Glocalnet and Labs2. Telia is the Telefonica of Sweden and Glocalnet is Telia’s largest ADSL competitor while Labs2 is Telia’s largest competitor in fiber-optic access. These two companies together sell around 8500 bandwidth connections a month. The deal with them is incredibly simple: we give Glocalnet and Labs2 the exclusive right to sell ADSL and fiber optic access with FON Inside and they agree that all their WiFi sales have FON Inside.
The great thing about this is that nobody pays anyone. These companies like FON because they will tell their clients “With Telia, you pay 30 euros a month and have internet at home. With Glocalnet, you pay 30 euros a month and you have internet at home, and you can also have it at your neighbour’s house, in your city and in the whole of Europe.”
On Friday, I visited Labs2 and I « test-surfed » the internet at 1 Gig. Labs2 of Sweden offer internet connections of 1 Gig (uplink/downlink) for 89 EUR which is absolutely incredible. Surfing at those speeds is like landing a jet plane. Extasis. To have an idea of what it’s like to have a 1 Gig connection, here’s how long it took to perform the following downloads:
-new skype software: < 1 second
-high-resolution movie trailer by Apple (200 Mb): < 3 seconds.
-song on Napster < 1 second
I simply didn’t want to disconnect. In my house in Madrid, I have a 1 Mb connection (uplink) and much less on downlink. I asked for much faster connection and I was told to wait 5 weeks…
The system, that combines fiber-optic category 6 cables for a distance of up to 100 meters, is the best I have every seen.
I find the tremendous acceptance of FON in Sweden surprising. Here we are in one of the world´s most advanced technology islands and yesterday at SIME, when I was done talking about FON (you download my powerpoint presentation here), somebody asked for a show of hands and around 70% of the audience wanted to become fonero. In other words, download our software which will be available on Monday and build the wifi nation. I thought that here, in the land of affordable 3G, people would prefer that choice. But the comments at SIME were so negative on 3G and so favorable on wifi that the whole thing made my day. Interestingly, I was approached by an Indian woman who wants to do FON in India. In India, FON is all about using wifi to reach many at a low cost, say a lot of mini Bills, in fonero language. But in Sweden it´s about Swedish people with the latest wifi enable gadgets wanting to find wifi signal everywhere. And they loved it when I said that the wifi nation already exists, that no additional expenditure is needed but the making of it with a clever piece of software. The largest hotspots networks in the world have less than 20,000 hotspots, T Mobile is a good example. Next Tuesday when we put our software on the net we don´t know what may happened but we believe that the chaos of random downloading may beat the central planning of large corporations and yield in a reasonable time the largest wifi network in the world.
Tomorrow, we’re launching FON in Sweden. Right now, I’m at the SIME scandinavian conference on the Internet. Sweden is an interesting case because people here are fascinated with the idea of FON, but not because you can earn money through FON nor because you can save money. Here, bandwidth is very large and very cheap. What Swedes seem to really like in FON is the idea of having a unified WiFi network with large bandwidth. They say that 3G was simply not good enough. There are companies here that offer fiber-optic connections in your home at speeds of up to 100Mb for only 30 EUR. Una locura, as we say in spanish. These are the only connections I’ve seen where the bottle neck is WiFi at 54 Mb.
This Friday, i asked to have a demonstration on how it is to surf at those speeds. For me, it’s a little like someone who’s going to go for a spin in a Ferrari.