Live Somewhere Busy? Share Your Internet For Profit

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FON is a company with an interesting idea: What if everyone shared their WiFi with each other? We could all get internet coverage in much of the world for free. But what about the bad people? FON has developed routers that have both public and private channels to allow people to share without worrying about their own privacy. There are still other worries, but considering how many people already have wide-open access points, I don’t think it’s too horrible. Sometimes they charge a one-time $30 fee for the special routers, and sometimes it’s free.

In addition to allowing the “sharers to share”, you can also pay for access to their network. Finally, there is the entrepreneurial option – get a kickback for selling your own internet access. They’ll even give you a free router to start. This is intended (on the honor system) for people who live near a Starbucks or other busy gathering space.


By installing your FON router, you let others share your broadband for a daily fee. A fee that goes straight into your pocket. A savvy patron of your Starbucks need only pay $2 a day for your WiFi. They’d have to be a grande drip to pay the [regular T-Mobile fee of] $10 Starbucks charges. Each customer who chooses you puts $1 into your latte fund. Cha-ching.

I think their new software even lets you decide how much bandwidth you want to “rent” out, so you won’t be stuck with molasses. Pretty slick! Thanks to Torger for the tip.

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  1. Their idea won’t fly. Good idea though.

    Here is why. I live in Austin. Much of the city is now providing free wireless internet access. Most the shops and restaurants are having a sign of “free wireless”. Why? Because if they don’t, people will go to other shops.

    I think this trend will eventually happen everywhere. Internet is like electricity. You are not charging people to plug into your coffee shop outlet are you?

    Now, there are places that are monopolized such as airports. Those people don’t worry about competitions.

  2. It’s a good idea but ppl who download alot will kill your bandwidth but limiting it is a great way to combat it.

  3. I find this confusing! Do you have to live next to or above a starbucks?

  4. This looks like a cool service. Unfortunately most ISPs probably forbid this in their TOS. I know for a while some DSL and cable internet providers didn’t even want you connecting more than one of your own computers without their permission. I would make sure you are allowed to do this, otherwise you may find yourself with no internet for yourself!

    Just a thought.

  5. The only problem is most if not all ISP’s in their contract have a clause stating that you cannot resell your connection, or something along those lines. You could get in to hot water if someone starts downloading from P2P and it so happens that the file is being monitored by copy protection people. Those are just a few thought of why you shouldn’t set it up in your own home.

  6. Hmm….every comment here sounds very logical. I went ahead and ordered their free router anyhow……wonder if it works as a regular wireless router. I read that there is a swtich to share and not share internet. As someone said above, internet is becoming free….but whats weird is that why are we moving at such a slow pace?

    Why arent most US airports providing free WIFI? So far I have only seen Vegas airport providing free WIFI.

  7. It probably does work as a regular router too, but considering a similar router costs about $10 these days, I really hope that people do not just sign up for this service for a free router if you are not willing to share your internet.

  8. This surely violates TOS for your internet provider.

  9. There are couple of othe providers who give these kind of services, I tried registering n number of times…but the registration never got thru. the same problem seems to be with FON. PLease confirm that they are legit, coz I have not heard of anyone who have got these routers. I just hope the informationw e give is not misused….

  10. Why not jonathan? Why cant someone order the router and not share their internet?

    Unethical? Some of the stuff you do is considered unethical for others as well.

  11. If these guys were offering a free router for a 30-trial of some tech magazine, I’d be all over it and cancel before 30 days. Or if they said “free with purchase”, I’d be all over it and just purchase something very cheap and get a great deal on a router. I’m totally fine with that kind of thing, and you guys know that.

    But in signing up with these guys, you expressly agree to share your internet. That’s why it’s free. It’s not “implied” or “suggested” or “that’s clearly what they meant“. It’s an entire page in the sign-up process. It’s not buried in the TOS or fine print. They ask “Do you agree to share?” in big letters.

    I know people argue with these differences, and each people have their own rules and draw their own line. This is how I draw mine. As always, people should do whatever works for them. I’m not going to lose sleep over my decisions, or yours 🙂

  12. PaagalKutha says

    How do fon subscribers handle situations where people surf to Illegal Websites ?

    Once a govt investigation is launched the ISP will point to you & what can you do avoid this potential legal hell ?

    Now you have the responsibility to prove that the visitor to your network did the illegal stuff and NOT you.

  13. ISP concerns are legitimate, but here’s one thing to consider.

    Take a walk around your neighborhood with your laptop. I can’t even count on my fingers how many open “Linksys”, “NETGEAR”, or “Actiontec” routers are wide-open.

    You’re a hacker/thief/bad guy. Do you chose one of these access points or FON, where you have to log into each time with username/password or pay for with credit card?

    Just a counter-argument, and one reason why, for now, I don’t need FON. Too many available routers already!

  14. I few people in my office already have these. I think it’s a great idea and should take off – at least until my city makes free wifi available. 🙂

  15. Just don’t plug them into your corporate office network or you may end up walking out with a cardboard box.

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