Fon, the global WiFi network, today announced a new initiative to bring free WiFi to downtown Brooklyn. This partnership has constructed a new three prong model, with free community WiFi provided from outdoor spaces, merchants and residents’ homes.
Fon says it has 12 million WiFi hotspots, making it the largest WiFi network in the world. Today, residents in more than 1,000 cities have Fon coverage, with over 10% of households being part of the Fon network. According to Fon, it has grown over 50% this year. Fon, already big in Europe and Asia and is now looking to build its footprint in the United States.
In the United States, Fon plans to incorporate free WiFi into outdoor hotspots, merchant hotspots and residential WiFi.
Outdoor hotspots include locations like lampposts, newsstands and bus stops, while Fon’s new merchant WiFi will add coverage in high traffic areas and allow a customized WiFi landing page.
To jump start the residential component of the model, Fon will also give away 1,000 Foneras to residents in Downtown Brooklyn which will round out coverage at the sidewalk level.
To set up a Fon Spot you need a broadband connection and a Fon router. You can purchase the specialized router on either Amazon.com or through the company website for $59. Fon has also opened up a new office in New York City to head up the transition to US markets.
The new Fonera, announced last month, combines classic Fon sharing features with new functionality using Facebook Connect in place of WiFi passwords. The new Fonera allows its owners to get free access to Fon’s 12m hotspots by splitting their WiFi signal in two: a private signal for owner use and a shared signal that is available for the owner’s guests and the rest of the Fon network.
The effort is one of many local Wi-Fi projects in New York City.
Cisco and Facebook announced a similar partnership that allows Wi-Fi users to log into access points, using Facebook credentials, sharing their demographic data in the process.
Facebook Wi-Fi isn’t sharing the customer’s name with the network owner; instead it’s supplying the business demographic and social data drawn from the customer’s profile. The data is anonymous, but it could be used to send customers specific marketing promotions while they’re connected to the network.
Cisco Connected Mobile Experience with Facebook Wi-Fi offers a bundle of services to marketers supplied by Cisco and Facebook.
Facebook Wi-Fi is currently available on Cisco’s Meraki routers, Cisco ISR Generation 2 and ASR 1000 routers.
The big 5 cable operators plan to allow their customers to freely roam across each others Wi-Fi hotspots. Cablevision, for one, has now deployed more than 100,000 hotspots in its tri-state New York/New Jersey footprint. More than 150,000 “CableWiFi” hotspots are now available nationwide in this partnership.
The “CableWiFi” network identifier (SSID) allows devices to auto-connect to a “CableWiFi” hotspot when in range. The wireless gateways that Comcast is installing in Xfinity Homes, contain two SSIDs, enabling consumer cable WiFi boxes to “share” their WiFi.
Comcast launched a network of more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Utah this summer. It will be available to non-Comcast customers free of charge, but only for two, one-hour sessions every 30 days.
Alcatel and Qualcomm are collaborating on small cell base stations for enhanced cellular and WiFi networks using Qualcomm’s FSM9900 family of Small Cell chipsets for seamless roaming.
Both cable and cellular providers hope to dominate the market for WiFi by creating roaming networks between different providers – but you generally have to be a subscriber to get unlimited “free” WiFi.
Here are 25 Blogs Featuring the Best Places to Get Free Wi- Fi.
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