back to article BT aims to make UK a Wi-Fi kibbutz

BT unveiled ambitious plans today to create the world's most extensive Wi-Fi network by persuading consumers to share access to their home router. It's part of a move by the national telco to head off the rise of 3G mobile internet on the cheap via a Home Hub firmware update. BT's three million Total Broadband customers will …


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  1. Chewy

    I don't think so

    So I should share my router with people who are too tight to pay for an ISP and a phone line should I?

    How about upgrading the phone network BT?

  2. Ian Ferguson

    Sounds good

    One thing I'd like clarified though; will non-BT FON users be able to access BT Openzone hotspots as well as BT customer's hubs?

    That would make FON truly worthwhile joining; I've held off doing so for now because where I want WiFi is in public and commercial areas, the type of place that BT Openzone WiFi is available; but FON tends to be around people's homes, in housing estates and obscure places.

    I'm surprised chain coffee houses and pubs and the like haven't signed up to FON to try and pull in the punters; I suppose they just see WiFi as an extra potential revenue stream.

  3. Tim J

    Worth a try

    I'm sure the vast majority of comment regarding this is going to be utterly negative - however I say well done BT, it might not be a success but it's worth a punt.

    The benefit to BT Broadband customers of opening up their WiFi to "Foneros" is of course that they will in turn be able to use other Foneros WiFi connections elsewhere gratis.

    I guess part of the question is whether BT customers will be keen on people milling around outside their house or flat trying to catch a WiFi connection!

  4. Dan Hall

    Is that "extensive" as in wide-spread

    or "expensive" as in over-hyped and over-priced?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Someone better inform Ol'Bill, last time I heard he was feeling collers of peeps using other peepses wireless..

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I would have expected BT to have done a freebie or discount deal to encourage punters to join up. maybe they still will, after all its nothing without a userbase.

    looks like openzone hotspots are included!

    have a look on the BT Fon map at your local public space..

    this really has the potential to wipe the smiles from other providers faces!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wi-Fi kibbutz

    Kibbutz: a community settlement, usually agricultural, organized under collectivist principles.

    You might as well say it's like Rolos because there is sharing involved

  8. Curtis W. Rendon

    tell the cops

    Otherwise you'll get busted for stealing wifi while parking you car next to a hot spot.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. James Dennis

    Information Disclosure

    Will all of BT's broadband customers be put on a easy to use (read easy to datamine) map so that other ISPs can target them? :-D

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sounds dodgy to me

    I am sure there are going to be plenty of security risks with this idea! BT should concentrate on changing the country over to Fibre so we can catch up with the rest of the world.

    I don't trust BT at all! They suck on so may levels it's unbeleivable. I am happy enough to plug my mobile into my laptop to get on web using 3g.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks good...

    Meets the need that some (hopefully a lot) of us are public spirited enough to share our wireless connection to passers by but have been, until now, concerned about how that could be used by 'anonymous' surfers.

    The idea of the Police coping with this, in the light of their recent 'success' with nabbing people using other's Wifi connections makes me smile. "I'm a Fonero!", you claim in all innocence..."You could be the Queen for all I care, sir, you're nicked!" comes the reply. I do wonder if our high tech habits have left the boys in blue way way behind...

  13. Neil Hoskins


    I had a look at Fon ages ago. Never bothered because when I'm visiting foreign lands, I'm not usually in suburbia, which is where other Fon members tend to be concentrated.

  14. Russell Hancock

    Mobile Phone

    Does this mean that my wi-fi mobile will be able to use any of them?

    *free* internet downloads in covered areas - that could really change the way I use GPS, mobile email, skype, google earth et al.....

    Hope it works in practice as I have a feeling BT might just be incompetent enough to mess it up!!

  15. robert


    I don't live in the UK so I'm not familiar with the company but it's pretty obvious that they have no clue what IT Security is. The possibilities of exploiting this idea are nearly endless. If they do start doing this it will be fun to see what people can find from each others computers.

  16. Morely Dotes

    Bollocks again!

    "BT says it'll know who carried out any illegal activity and that access to the network will be secure."

    Less than 2 hours after deployment of a few FON hotspots, you may be sure that the nefarious types will have figured out how to hide their own identity from BT, and how to gain access to the network without having a membership.

    What's worse, whatever they do will most likely appear to be done by the person whose whom the Wi-fi router is in.

    It's a lovely idea - but for BT to claim they "know" who did what is a load of old cobblers.

  17. 4.1.3_U1

    @Neil Hoskins

    I've been looking at Fon on and off for ages too; what makes this different and maybe worthwhile is the access to BT OpenZone.

    However I'd expect most of the useful BT OpenZone hotspots to be 'premium hotspots' and hence excluded.

    The Find Hotspots link on didn't work for me (due to it being / firewall / noscript / who knows) - has anyone checked and managed to find one in an airport / railway station etc?

  18. Nick

    RE: security

    The idea revolves around the use of something called 'BT HomeHub' - a linux based router system supplied by BT to their broadband customers. Whilst I'm not saying that they'll make it secure, I expect they'll separate BT Fon WiFi traffic from users' internal networks with a HomeHub update. I'm making uninformed presumptions here ;) but I very much doubt BT Fon will utilise third party wireless routers and access points.

  19. Ed

    Re: security

    Robert, FON users are put onto a separate network that can't access the main LAN.

    FON has been running this for about 2 years - I've not seen any reported security issues in that time.

  20. Simon Reed

    Aiding and abetting?

    But, I've not long since turned on all the security on my WiFi doobrie.

    Because of these stories about people being nicked for using other wide-open people's WiFi, I decided to make mine secure. Not for my security, just because of all these articles I kept reading saying it's The Right Thing to do otherwise one is aiding and abetting. Or some such.

    (Personally, I'd rather have a legal situation where if it's public, it's public. My WiFi point was called "Free2Use".)

    So, if BT says I should make it available again, aren't they an accomplice in my aiding and abetting some thieving criminal from checking their email or on their laptop?

    What a load of bollocks this has all become.

    Hey, don't forget to close your curtains before turning the telly on. You don't want some evil no-TV-licence-owning thief watching the picture from outside.

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  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sounds dodgy to me


  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    with the average ADSL speeds being utter tat, of course you'd want people leeching what little bandwidth most people have on BTs cruddy ol' lines.

    Imagine... "Sorry love, I can't buy us a holiday just yet, there seems to be a group of lar-lars watching some happyslappy vids from 'un-named vid site' that is using up all of our massive 1mbit ADSL", "...but it's cool, they look poor with their cheap hooded tops'n'all. We love helping the needy"

    ..ok, maybe that was ever-so-slightly over cynical ;)

    BT... you can't share a fairy cake with twenty people, I'd need four or five just to fill the gaps in my teeth :B

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Sounds dodgy to me

    Comparing BT to Virgin? Oh come on who was the monopoly? Though perhaps BT should start a training program for their staff on how NOT TO TYPE IN ANNOYING CAPS.


  25. b166er

    great for us

    if it becomes popular, all the mobile peeps will have to give us more data to compete. sounds good to me

  26. Paul Simmonds

    War chalking again...

    Like it's going to take longer than a week for someone to hack the system yet!

  27. Edward Miles

    Secure? Ha!

    "access to the network will be secure" Now I had to set my brother's home hub up the orther day (A far more arduous task than it should be!) And BT's default encryption is WEP. Added onto this, no matter what I tried, I couldn't get WPA (Which it is meant to be compatible with) to work.

    So forgive me for being sceptical of their ability to secure this network either.

  28. Kebab the Cat

    I've been on FON

    Been using Fon for a while now, seperate SSID, basically free, and I've even bumped into a couple of useful spots while out and about. But mostly I just use the AP they sent me to beam wireless into my local pub with a pringles can. Which is nice.

  29. Jove Bronze badge

    Your nicked ...

    How long, I wonder, before the first arrest. Perhaps BT should include something in their FAQ:

  30. WeeDom


    Ah! My nicked. I wondered where I'd left my nicked.


  31. WeeDom

    a more useful note

    I can only imagine that the "visitor" usage will be metered separately from the "owner" usage by marking all the up/down traffic from the visitor with details from their voucher.

    If that's not the case, how can they possibly tell the difference between owner/visitor traffic? After all, having it on a SSID at the owners router (if indeed that's how they do it) surely won't appear in server logs, normally.

    What is not clear is how abuse issues are going to be dealt with. Abusive traffic is generally reported as in "this IP address did something bad to my IP address". Voucher information certainly won't be transmitted along with, say, a portscan attack... so how is their abuse team going to know if it was the owner of the hub who was responsible, or some passerby?

  32. GrahamT


    If you go into the admin section of HomeHub, you will see that a group of IP addresses are ringfenced for VOIP. These are in a different domain to the local 192.168.. LAN. These appeared on their own, so were presumably downloaded by BT. No doubt the same can be done for FON access, though how they overcome the local security is another matter - and more than a bit worrying if they can open up part of the router bypassing my admin password and security scheme.

  33. Kevin Owen
    Thumb Down

    BT FON...another white elephant?

    wi-fi on the cheap via less than state of the art equipment...that sounds about right for BT!

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