WiFi hot spots should be anywhere and everywhere, says Martin Varsavsky. The 48-year-old Internet guru founded FON, a company that's built a WiFi network on members' shared wireless connections. Analysts say such global WiFi is only years away, but FON could still lose out; despite $55.2 million from giants like Google and BT, FON may fall to better-funded competitors.
The startup is battling two types of complex WiFi systems—WiMax and LTE—that companies like Sprint, Intel, and Comcast are fueling with billions of dollars. With only 830,000 people now registered on FON, it will have to expand massively to compete against such WiFi rivals.