Feeds

Wi-Fi service breaches ISP conditions

Fon and games

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A router designed to share broadband internet connections with third parties appears to break the terms and conditions of seven of the top 10 UK internet service providers.

Fon.com offers Wi-Fi routers for as little as €5 and encourages connection sharing in a bid to build a Wi-Fi community, but its policies could put users at odds with their providers.

OUT-LAW has examined the terms and conditions of the 10 biggest UK ISPs as rated by research firm Point Topic. Only two of the ISPs, Blueyonder from Telewest and Orange Broadband, do not ban the sharing of a connection with third parties.

Seven of the ISPs, including BT, NTL and Tiscali, ban connection sharing explicitly. One ISP, AOL, bans sharing but only if the access is sold. Fon does encourage users to charge for access.

The Fon system is designed to create an informal network of users. If you buy a Fon router you receive a username and password. If you have a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop and come into range of another Fon router you can sign on with your Fon username and password and use that internet access. If you share your Wi-Fi for free at your own home then you can use any Fon connection for free. If you don't share your own access you can use any other Fon point for €3 per day, according to Fon. If you decline the right to have free roaming access you can share 50 per cent of the revenue generated by charging that €3 a day for your access.

Though individual ISP policies tend to forbid sharing, Tim Snape of Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) says that the idea is a good one. "It sounds like a really good thing to do," he said. "Anything that makes it easier for the consumer to get the benefit of the internet is a good thing. There are negatives that need to be addressed but our thinking is that it is good for the consumer."

"If it is being used for normal use, browsing a few websites, a bit of email, then the amount of traffic is so negligible it's not an issue," said Snape. "But if it's being used to download thousands of CDs then that is an issue but that would apply if it was an individual who wasn't sharing it. It's abuse that ISPs don't like."

A major concern for Wi-Fi users who share a connection is what the connection is used for. Should a third party use the connection for illegal activities, an investigation would lead to the address of the person whose network was shared.

In Fon's case, though, each user must already be a Fon subscriber and must sign in to use the network, meaning that everyone using the network can be identified. "What Fon are doing seems to be the right thing," said Snape. "The key to resolving this problem is being able to identify the users." Fon did not comment when contacted by OUT-LAW.

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Wanna keep your data for 1,000 YEARS? No? Hard luck, HDS wants you to anyway
Combine Blu-ray and M-DISC and you get this monster
US boffins demo 'twisted radio' mux
OAM takes wireless signals to 32 Gbps
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Apple flops out 2FA for iCloud in bid to stop future nude selfie leaks
Millions of 4chan users howl with laughter as Cupertino slams stable door
Students playing with impressive racks? Yes, it's cluster comp time
The most comprehensive coverage the world has ever seen. Ever
Run little spreadsheet, run! IBM's Watson is coming to gobble you up
Big Blue's big super's big appetite for big data in big clouds for big analytics
Seagate's triple-headed Cerberus could SAVE the DISK WORLD
... and possibly bring us even more HAMR time. Yay!
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.