Technology
2:00 pm
Sat January 26, 2013

Tech Tycoon Loves Miami So Much He Wants To Include It In His Global Wi-Fi Empire

OK, show of hands: How many of you Miamians have ever heard of Argentine tech guru and entrepreneur Martín Varsavsky and his based-in-Spain "public wi-fi" company, Fon?

HE LOVES MIAMI: Tech entrepreneur Martín Varsavsky wants to establish the U. S. headquarters of his global 'public wi-fi' company in Miami.
HE LOVES MIAMI: Tech entrepreneur Martín Varsavsky wants to establish the U. S. headquarters of his global 'public wi-fi' company in Miami.

Well, he has certainly heard of you. So impressed is he with Miami -- and so dismayed by the South Florida brain drain he attributes to the lack of a significant tech sector in our economy -- that he's planning to launch his North American operations here.

Fon is described as the world's largest wi-fi network and the actualization of Varsavsky's dream to link the world with all-but-free wireless Internet.

It relies on users to contribute a fraction of their Internet bandwidth to a giant pool of  Internet that is somehow shared to the world, either with special Fon routers called "Foneras" or firmware modifications to the routers the customers already have.

He calls it "crowd sourced" wi-fi. And, no, we don’t understand the technology completely but we in the U. S. may be the only ones who don't. Yet.

On his blog, Varsavsky says he considered New York City and San Francisco before settling on the Magic City. Here's part of his Miami shout-out and his promise to bring back Miami's diaspora of techies:

Why Miami?  Well, I have been researching three markets, the Bay Area, NYC and Miami and think Miami is best because it is home to close to 6 million people and there are almost no tech start ups or tech companies.  This forces a great deal of Miami talent to emigrate to the Northeast or West Coast and I strongly believe that an attractive tech company such as Fon could recruit amazing people in Miami. We could bring back a part of the Miami diaspora or attract others to move to a beautiful area that is both low cost and low taxes. I have been going to Miami since 2009 and the city is getting better every month.  

This is all part of an elaborate help-wanted ad. Fon is looking for a director of U. S. operations and that person would be based in Miami. "If you are a U. S. citizen," he concludes, "or have had your career in the USA and are a strong product designer/service designer/product manager/marketing person, do write to me at martin at fon dot com and I will share with you more of what I have in mind."

But before you send the email, maybe you should watch the Fon video: