BT backs Wi-Fi piggy-backing


5 Oct 2007

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Gaining access to someone else’s wireless internet connection may be illegal but BT plans to change the way we use Wi-Fi by encouraging customers to share part of their wireless connection with others and create the world’s largest wireless community.

When a customer agrees to share a small part of their home broadband connection through opening up a separate, secure channel on their wireless router, they will be able to legally piggyback on the connection of any other member.

Participants will also have access to more than 190,000 hotspots worldwide from FON which BT invested in along with Google.

“If they are prepared to securely share a little of their broadband, they can share the broadband at hundreds of thousands of FON and BT Openzone hotspots today, without paying a penny,” said Gavin Patterson, BT Group managing director.

Although this is currently only being rolled out in the UK a spokesperson for BT Ireland told siliconrepublic: “We believe it is an excellent service and are looking at opportunities to launch this into the Republic of Ireland.”

Currently there are over 350 BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Ireland.

The main concern for participants in this Wi-Fi community will be the security of their network should they choose to share it.

However the BT Ireland spokesperson pointed out that the visitor and home user traffic will pass through separate networks so visitors cannot use BT FON to connect directly to a local home-user network, or vice versa.

Enabling a wireless community is not the same as leaving your wireless connection open to other users, the home user still has a separate, secure internet connection.

By Marie Boran