Martin announced today that FON as accepted 18 million Euros in funding from Google, Skype, Sequoia Capital, and Index Ventures. They are also going to support FON strategically. I blogged about FON earlier when I joined the advisory board, but FON is an innovative company that is starting a movement to allow people who have Internet access to create wifi hotspots.
If you’d like to join the FON Community, register with us at www.fon.com. You can select the user profile that most suits you. FON is now working in a Beta phase and is only available for Linus. A Linus is any user who shares his/her WiFi in exchange for free access throughout the Community wherever there is coverage. In the future, FON will also be available for Bills. Instead of roaming for free, Bills are users who prefer to keep a percentage of the fees that FON charges to Aliens. And Aliens are those guys who pay to connect.The strategic relationship with Google and Skype is quite amazing and a key point. The telephone companies have been trying to prevent Internet companies from "free-riding" on "their" infrastructure. For instance:
There is clearly a battle between telephone companies who believe they deserve to recoup their investment in infrastructure by gouging people for voice and soon wifi access. On the other hand, companies such as Skype and now FON are trying to push the bottom-up Internet philosophy to one of the final layers where the monopolistic dinosaurs still reign. FON's ability to get Skype and Google who are natural competitors to work together to try to lower the cost of access to for users reminds me of Yahoo and Google both supporting Firefox to provide users with an free and open alternative browser.
-- SBC Communications CEO Ed Whitacre