[FoRK] FONey wifi

Tom Higgins <tomhiggins at gmail.com> on Wed Feb 21 13:12:55 PST 2007

FON has always irked me and again they prove out my suspicons that
they are simply another flavor of wrong when it comes to setting up a
Community Network.


Basicaly FON is giving away some routers with the thrust of getting
people to rebroadcast other services wifi and get paid for dong the
deed. Some people think it would be cool to sing up, get a router, and
then reflash it to do good. Sure that sounds great but I think in the
end it is simply feeding into FONs image machine. Routers that can run
openwrt are cheap these days so why even get dirty dealing with

Ive included my response both to the digg article and from the PTP
mailing list, slightly edited to get out the PTP in jokes.

"I am part of the Personal Telco Project (
http://www.personaltelco.net ) up in the Portland Oregon area. The PTP
was set out to give people an alternative to pay wifi sites that were
springing up back when the group started some 6 years ago. When FON
first came up on the radar I was skeptical of its motives and how it
fit into projects that tried to build community use and inclusion of
networking. As FON has progressed my skepticism has grown.

I know that some folks see the FON router giveaway as a chance to get
a no cost openwrt platform that they can then reflash and put to good
use, there is a problem with that though.

Look at thier Terms of Service


Section 6 needs reading......

"6.5. As a FONero, you will have the right to grant free access to your own FON
Hotspot to several users of your choice, the exact number of which shall be
defined by FON from time to time."

So you can not, under the TOS of FON be a truly open community
networking node/hotspot.

Section 6.7 says you MUST use the offical FON software. There goes the
idea of reflashing.

So you want to say your a FONeyario to get the router...Ok...but then
your bound to the agreement. Like I said, routers that can use openwrt
are damn cheap.

Ok even if you dont mind section 6 read on to section 7. People who
are not running a node (as either a Linus or Bill) are called Aliens
(can they get any more patronizing?) and they must PAY to use the
service, so there is no inclusion of a community who wishes to offer
up bandwidth for neighbors to use free of charge. Before the replies
are sent that "No one in their right mind would ever offer up their
bandwidth for free" please come visit Portland and use the 100+ spots
( http://map.personaltelco.net/ ) where members of the PTP have set up
areas doing just that. All these spots are run by home owners and biz
owners who believe being good neighbors.

Look at the FON front page ( http://www.fon.com/en/) for a summation
of what FON believes in...

"Welcome to FON, where becoming a Fonero will make you dinero"

The ideas that make up the PTP, as well as many Community Wireless
Network groups, are spelled out in several documents including the
Freenetworks Peering Agreement ( http://freenetworks.org/peering.html
) and the Wireless Commons Manifesto ( http://www.wirelesscommons.org/

If you want to build another TMobile type Pay network then FON is for
you. If you want to do something truly cool go read those two
documents mentioned above and find a near by Community Wireless
Networking group (there is a list of them on http://freenetworks.org/)
or start one up.

More information about the FoRK mailing list