Crowdsourced Wi-Fi network raises $14 million in funding

Fon, a free “crowdsourced” WiFi network that is created out of people sharing a portion of their private WiFi connections, is today announcing another $14 million in funding led by Qualcomm Ventures as it gears up to tackle new areas like the U.S. and business users. It will also be teaming up with Facebook around a new “social” router called Fonera, which will let people share their WiFi hotspots with Facebook friends and no further authentication.

Spanish Wi-Fi sharing company Fon has raised $14 million from QualcommVentures. It’s an indication that Fon’s collective approach to sharing bandwidth, while slow-growing, still has some attraction to investors — particularly a strategic investor like Qualcomm, which makes chips for broadband wireless communications. It might also be finding some traction now that the notion of “collaborative consumption” is catching on, thanks to startups like AirBnB and Lyft — although Fon predates those startups by several years.

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