back to article 100,000 sign for BT Fon wi-fi love-in

100,000 punters have signed up to BT's Wi-Fi love-in, sharing their home connectivity in exchange for having access to everyone else's, enabling the operator to call itself the world's largest Wi-Fi community. Spot the hotspot Previous attempts to get people to share their connectivity have fallen foul of usage restrictions …


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  1. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    I love FON - in theory. I nearly signed up, but then realised I would be one of two users on the Isle of Wight, the other user being in a housing estate in Shanklin; not desperately where I'd want to hang out with my iPhone.

    If FON had hotspots along beaches, in parks, in business estates, city centres, train stations etc., I'd jump at the chance. But the intrinsic flaw in it's business plan is that these are exactly the places that it doesn't have hotspots - as they're not residential.

    I suppose BT Openzone is a start - but I'm not entirely convinced, as I'm meant to have free access to them as part of my O2 contract, but have yet to figure out how to achieve this - every time I've tried, it's insisted I log in, or sign up and pay. Hmm.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For the sake of science...

    There's allegedly a hotspot in the next postcode along from me, so between 3 and 7 doors away or something like that. Thing is, the average age of those neighbours is about 80, so I kind of have my doubts... Still, I'll go stand at the end of their driveways anyway in the interests of research,

  3. Steve Foster

    Public Information Films

    The Fon hotspot has clearly watched no. 42: "How Not To Be Seen".

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Ok I put my hand up

    It was me - i joined up a few days ago so I'm responsible for this mile stone :) Sorry but as i do live just next to the local shop and bus stop (if i reach over my back fence i can touch the bus stop) it may prove of use to some one...... may be.... some day...

  5. Simon Greenwood

    59p so far...

    From my FON router in an apartment block in Salford Quays, all from 15 minute free sessions (if you're reading this, hi!). On the other hand, my router at home has never and probably will never get a customer, as it overlooks a granny farm (not many surfin' grannies there) in a small rural town.

    Fon is missing several tricks here: it should be selling itself into pubs and shops, rather than expecting businesses to volunteer. The router should act more like a grid or repeater to seamlessly share traffic on the move, and overall, it should be accessible. I can see that my home router is down from the FON website, but I can't get into it remotely to reset it. The Openzone service is, so far, a one way street for Fon users: we can use BTFon spots, which are generally in residential streets, and they can use our Fon spots, but we can't use Openzone, which is in towns. Fortunately my T-mobile wireless broadband account does... or will eventually. Maybe.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    It's great...

    Just checked it out, it's one of two houses backing onto an unlit field, next to an alley way, the tree's providing good shade.

    There are good links to the M42 & M5 and Birmingham.

    Anyone wanna buy a pc / laptop. Not sure of the spec yet, let you know tommorow...

  7. censored

    Is there a way...?

    To set routers to allocate a small share of bandwidth for free and open access? I'd happily share my connection, provided some bastard didn't start a load of torrents and lock me out.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doooooomed 2

    "I suppose BT Openzone is a start - but I'm not entirely convinced, as I'm meant to have free access to them as part of my O2 contract, but have yet to figure out how to achieve this - every time I've tried, it's insisted I log in, or sign up and pay. Hmm."

    Same here. Also said something on The Cloud's page about being able to use "The Cloud, BT Openzone, credEcard, Vonage, O2, Skype, Nintendo Wi-Fi Zone, Sprint, iPass, Divine Management", but this also didn't work, so not overly impressed.

    Oh well....

  9. Steven
    Thumb Down

    BT FON Stealth Tactics

    The only reason BT FON even has so many users is the way the deploy it.

    My dad has it and didn't even know. Basically a guy from BT phoned him and said he could have a free wireless router upgrade and £1 a month off his broadband. My dad obviously thought it was a good deal as he didn't even have to extend his contract. It was only when I looked into it that I found the new router was automatically set up to use BT FON, something they never even bothered to tell him about.

    Between that and Phorm I've lost all respect for BT. I used to always recommend them to friends and family for broadband, but not anymore!

  10. Steve

    sounds familiar

    Don't you remember the Fonera lake?

  11. Terence Eden
    Thumb Up


    The fon router allows you to specify how much of your bandwidth you want to share. I share 2Mb of my 8Mb pipe and it hasn't caused a problem yet.

  12. Rob Farnell

    The only way I would do this

    You would need to beef up your wireless using a separate access point using modified firmware such as DD-WRT ( ) with FON Hotspot ( ) if you wanted to stop people being resource hogs and having any element of control of your own connection.

  13. John Moppett


    As a customer of BT Broadband I tried to set FON up, and failed. I then found from a forum that it was becoming a hobby for some people, so I joined in. After about 10 rounds of registering/de-registering/re-registering it has upgraded my Home Hun software, but nothing else. I have never found a hot spot to see if I can connect!!

  14. Angus Ireland


    So if I go around looking for FON Hotspots and (eventually) manage to find one, I can download all the illegal movies/music/games/porn/etc I want and it'll be the FON Router's owner who the police come looking for?

    I like this already :)

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do I share 24meg bandwidth ??

    I have a 24 meg connection that I dont use much of at any one time as I dont use for downloads or gaming .If someone could post how I could share SAFELY then I would be glad to do so. I use wired connection but would get a wireless card.


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it likely to be easier...

    ... and cheaper, just to find the nearest ubiquitous NETGEAR?

  17. Steve Davis

    That's what they think

    I was an existing BT Total Broadband customer and took their offer of a webphone or whatever the hell they are calling it now.

    It came with a new home hub and softphone.

    As the mobile was charging it converted the existing hub into three - the original, a CT Hub and a Fon access point.

    So when the mobile was up and running, registered and everything, I swapped the routers over and the man in the street can whistle for his connection.

  18. Neil Alexander
    Thumb Down

    I did join the BT FON programme...

    ... and then the new software for the BT Home Hub which powers this FON business caused my router to restart itself at random. As you can imagine, I downgraded the firmware very quickly and stopped using it.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    FON routers are a dirt cheap WAP tho'

    I know of a certain pro wireless company (ick) who's buying them by the shedload reprogramming them (with a comedy DIY ICP programmer) with DD-WRT, Xlink Kai etc and selling them for £40 also selling them as they come for £35 when they show up on FON's site as $15.

  20. Daniel

    am i the only one who looked in boredom

    there seems to be an openzone hot spot just to the left of the loch ness in a field....

    what am i the only one who looked?

  21. Anonymous Coward


    If you sign up for BT Fon but don't use the Home Hub, you get all the benefits (unlimited BT Openzone and FON) but without having to turn your router into a FON access point. I think there are enough stories here about security issues with the hub to explain why other routers are a better choice. I haven't tried a FON point myself but I can confirm this works with a standard Openzone one. A drawback of Openzone/FON is that it doesn't support roaming, so you can't use The Cloud or a T Mobile hotspot. My local pub has free wireless access (and has signs up to say so), so that isn't necessarily a problem.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Wait til we get dspots

    The problem with FON is that we don't make any money so what's the incentive? A quid of the bill? That's a joke.

    There's a new system in the States at the moment and it's coming to the UK and they pay you 40% of the revenues from ads that the users see when they are connected to your dspot.

    So in order to get free wifi, you see an extra ad on your screen - that pays them and you.

    Much better idea - I'm all for making some dosh to help pay for the broadband connection!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Risk free?

    I've had BT Fon turned on ever since I got my BT Home Hub. It seems risk free as it sets up a walled garden so anyone surfing on BT Fon doesn't use my bandwidth and, more importantly, can't sneakily surf for kiddie pr0n and get me in trouble for it.

    Having said that, whether it is 100% risk free for me I don't know. But in any case I very much doubt too many people have tried to use it.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My experience of FON has so far been positive. No one has connected to my node but so far i've taken advantage of logging into openzone in Geneva (syndicated via swisscom) and Edinbrough airports.

    I'm slightly confused as to the openzone comments as i've not found an openzone node i couldn't log into using my FON account.

    Also, even if you do share your connection the hub assigns the FON traffic a low QoS value so your own traffic takes priority. In fact, if you attempt to connect to your own node, you can demonstrate how painfully slow it is :)

  25. simon barfield

    fon business

    why don't they just stick wireless routers in existing telephone boxes.. ten minutes to wire up..built in country wide coverage.. i'm missing something aren't i?

  26. David Haig

    Island hoit-spot - with a pint!

    "let us know if you can find an even more remote hotspot from which we can fail to file stories, send e-mail and generally pretend to be working."

    St Blane's Hotel - Isle of Bute ( Might not be totally remote but our router is available to anyone who comes in for a pint or a meal (or even stay!) and covers much of the beer garden but unfortunately not the beach. BOFH & PFY rating awaited!

    Unfortunately we're on 'Exchange Activate' so we're not looking at much more than 512 and BT say it would be too expensive to upgrade the exchange even to let other villagers have broadband (there's been letters to the MSP's to try and get them to change their minds).

    Cheers and hope to see you all out here!

  27. Mister Cheese


    Except you need to log into FON with your own account first - it's not an open hotspot with direct access...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I thought that it had already been shown that if someone is using your router, it doesn't matter if they connected from a different PC, the music industry will track you by ip exposed from torrenting, so surely you CAN get done for giving others access..bit of social engineering to get an account details, and it's all set up.

  29. Robin
    Dead Vulture

    I Looked

    There's one near me, but apparently it's right in the middle of some train tracks.

    I wouldn't like to have to reset that bad boy if it went belly-up!

  30. Dick Emery


    I have a few around my area and nearly all are residential. I don't know about you but I find that next to useless as most are houses in streets. Good luck sitting outside someone's house in you car surfing the net. That is until my bluetit hat comes along and asks your to accompany him to the local nesting box.

    Pirate icon because ARRR me hearties! You all be crims 'n' terrists of teh open wifi networks.

  31. Dave Clegg

    extreme wifi

    let us know if you can find an even more remote hotspot from which we can fail to file stories, send e-mail and generally pretend to be working

    I'm liking this one, inbetween runways 1 and 2 of Bristol Airport...

  32. Jove Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Maps and Usage

    I have been registered for BT FON for sometime. I live in an apartment block with its own post code, and which is surrounded by similar blocks. There is a problem in the locating of the HotSpot on the map, with it being shown to be about 100 meters further to the south than the building. I assume that this inaccuracy is introduced through inaccurate mapping data held by Google.

    Surprisingly I get a lot of visitors to the BT FON HotSpot - most of them iPhone users, at least two a week, usually at the weekends. There also seems to be a regular stream of new iPhones, so I am wondering if one of my neighbours is running a small retail business or something.

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