Human 4G masts assemble roaming hobonet for pennies
Homeless bods strapped to wireless kit at Texas bash
SXSW An advertising agency has broken boundaries by attaching 4G gear to homeless people and encouraging them to roam around the SXSW festival while radiating data packets.
Homeless Hotspots, a novel system concocted by the New York branch of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, allow techies and journalists to rapidly blog and check their Twitter updates by clustering around these human phone masts. The project from aims to deliver a better "in transit" network service for people in Austin, Texas.
The New York Times explains:
Homeless people have been enlisted to roam the streets wearing T-shirts that say “I am a 4G hotspot.” Passersby can pay what they wish to get online via the 4G-to-Wi-Fi device that the person is carrying.
Punters can pay for the service via PayPal or mobile app Venmo. BBH recommend a donation of $2 per 15 minutes, which is about a fiver an hour. The proceeds go to Front Steps, a charity that provides shelter to the homeless.
The router-on-a-hobo has been tested before in New York. BBH said it was equivalent to homeless people flogging copies of Big Issue, a revenue model that's under threat with the rise of the internet.
El Reg asked the agency whether or not it thinks attaching 4G kit to homeless people reduced them to phone masts hounded by rich iPad-waving new media types, robbing them of their dignity in a way that touting magazines does not. We await their reply. ®
Re: My money
a friend of mine took care of a fellow that lived behind his restaurant. Gave him good food. Watched after him when it was cold. Took him to the hospital after thugs beat him up, and picked him up again. Giving him work here and there. He also was very careful to ask for his heater back when it started getting warm. Why? Because he learned that on the years that he didn't, that the heater disappeared (got sold.) My friend didn't miss a beat. He just adapted and watched the weather year after year until the fellow finally got himself on his feet.
Not villians. It is just hard for us to comprehend what must be done when you are so close to the edge...and that heater is a meal.
Re: My money
Yeah, because all homeless people are villains!
there's two ways of looking at this
one - this is barely a step above something like Bum Fights, which reduced these unfortunate individuals to little more than entertainment. this instead just reduces them to a utility.
two - surely can't be very hard to mug a homeless person for their 4G kit and thereby net yourself a free, personal hotspot of your very own, ensuring you always have high speed data access, for free, until the operators work out which unit you stole and switch it off. And then you just beat up another homeless type and steal their kit again.
neither of these are particularly good for the homeless person