I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Your...Wi-Fi

Spanish Wi-Fi startup Fon has convinced Time Warner Cable to allow home broadband customers to turn  their connections into public wireless hotspots using Fon's hardware. It's a sort of take a penny leave a penny format for subscribers to the service, and they call their members "Foneros." 

"La Fonera splits a Wi-Fi connection in two: an encrypted channel for the Fonero and a public one for neighbors or passers-by. Foneros can decide how much of their bandwidth to share with the public and can log on to any Fon router without charge. "Aliens," as Fon calls nonmembers, can register on a Web page and pay a modest $2 or $3 for 24 hours of access.

In the U.S., where it costs $10 for a day pass to use a T-Mobile HotSpot at a Starbucks, Fon's economics seem particularly appealing.

Joanna Rees, chief executive of Fon USA, said such rates at coffee shops, airports and hotels might work for a business person with an expense account but are too high for people who just want to quickly check e-mail, make a call on a Wi-Fi phone or play on a wireless video game device."

The Time Warner cable agreement lends needed credibility to the arrangement. So what say you? Will you show them yours if they show you theirs?