I was going to return to the subject of risk but as so often happens synchronicity stepped in.

Being now the very proud owner (no owner, that is the wrong word, friend is better) of an iPod Touch hooked into The Cloud WiFi I am in a position to comment on how this works. Firstly, in a hotspot it works beyond expectations. Secondly, the gap between hotspots even in the City can be quite large meaning you cannot walk and browse at the same time. This is immensely frustrating.

On the bus on the way home from Covent Garden last night I had the WiFi sniffer open and in that entire journey I do not believe there was one instance when less than four WiFi networks were visible. In many areas we were beyond 20 visible. Of course, now people are more mature in their use of WiFi all of these networks are locked and, moreover, even if they were not I am not convinced one can hop between them (I may be wrong, of course). There were, though, a number of open wireless networks all marked BTOpenZone. And also interestingly a few marked “BTOpenZone Beta”.

Which brings us nicely to this artice I saw this morning: BT Links Up With FON:

Britain’s top fixed-line carrier BT Group Plc on Thursday teamed up with Wi-Fi crusader FON in a deal to allow more than three million UK broadband customers to use hundreds of thousands of hotspots for free

Now, this is very interesting. I have looked at and thought about FON before - the model is excellent but I was concerned that the model could not reach any sort of critical mass. Below this critical mass it would essentially, even though an excellent idea, wither and die. Could this link with BTOpenZone bring FON closer to critical mass? I think it could.

For anyone not conversant with the concept it basically means (if the model was universally adopted) that I could travel on the bus from Covent Garden to home hopping from WiFi hotspot to Wifi hotspot all open to me and in a universal model to everyone). Theoretically it means one city-wide, universal WiFi network comprised of essentially independent hotspots.

(Actually, I am not sure if you can switch seamlessly between hotspots - but that should be simple enough to fix, shouldn’t it)