The way Telefonica has made this happen in a practical way is to build its own routers that can be installed in houses within a neighborhood. So far these have had to be installed by engineers, but the next generation are plug-and-play, and eventually all that will be needed is an over-the-air software update to customers’ existing routers. According to Rodriguez, the software “creates a mesh to aggregate the capabilities [of the routers].” Pooling all of the bandwidth from these routers allows anyone within the network to take advantage of it at home, and they can also connect to any BeWifi network they come across on their mobile devices when out and about.
The title is a bit dramatic using the term “stealing” as if something as ephemeral as unused bandwidth, which disappears never to be used by anyone ever as time passes, is an asset that could be considered “stolen” if taken or used by someone else. The victim of this kind of “theft” does not wake in the morning and see something missing unless they’re subscribed to some kind of data cap. Most home installations do not have caps.
Telefonica is currently looking towards developing economies and its huge customer base of over 200 million households in 14 countries in South America as the places in which BeWifi could have a real impact.