Time Warner Cable and fon are entering an agreement that will allow TWC broadband customers to set up fon routers on their connections.
fon customers install a special fon router that splits their broadband connection so that the subscriber gets their internet while a slice of it is available as a public hotspot. As consideration for serving as a wifi hotspot, fon users can use other fon hotspots for free while they are out and about. Those who don’t have a fon router at home can pay a nominal fee to access a fon hotspot.
You might remember that I wasn’t too hot on fon’s recent campaign to give away routers to people situated near a Starbucks. This was mostly because I thought that ISPs (like Time Warner) might be more likely to enforce their terms and conditions that disallow sharing if they knew the subscriber was turning a profit. This deal, while details are still sketchy, would solve that problem since Time Warner and fon would be splitting the fees and cutting the subscriber out of the action altogether.
There could be a huge benefit to the subscribers here in that, according to the BusinessWeek article, Time Warner has 6.6 million broadband subscribers. That could represent a huge increase in the number of fon routers out there one could connect to. The more hotspots, the more likely one might be able to find one where they need it.