- 30 Dec 07, 09:21 GMT
Back in October BT partnered with wi-fi community company Fon.
The deal meant BT Broadband customers could share their home wi-fi connection with other Fon community members, to create a sort of "social wi-fi".
The news got quite a bit of coverage at the time. But I'll admit I had pretty much forgotten about the deal until I opened up my laptop at the house of a family member and up popped a wi-fi network called BT Openzone.
It turns out the Openzone connection was a neighbour who had opted in to the Fon deal. I have free Openzone minutes with my BT Broadband account and so was able to log in and share the connection.
Instant wi-fi - great news.
But just how many Fon hotspots are there out there? There are more than 200,000 worldwide, according to Fon - and Japan has the most Fon-enabled routers - with 24,000.
A search on the BT Fon website - on which you can locate nearby Fon hotspots - certainly revealed a fair sprinkling in the Cardiff area, where I'm currently based. But not enough to be classed as blanket wi-fi.
The option to log in to a free w-fi hotspot - if you're a Fon user - certainly trumps having to pay about £10 for an hour's wi-fi access from a commercial provider.
With city-wide wi-fi zones struggling to take off, could Fon be a solution?
In October the founder of Fon, Martin Varsavsky, met with Apple's Steve Jobs, who had expressed an interest in the firm's work.
Free wi-fi for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users? Well, nothing seems as yet to have come from the meeting.
It's clear that Fon will only make a difference if enough people sign up.
And that's the first thing I'm going to do when I get home. Share and share alike.
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