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Homeless people at SXSW turned into 4G hotspots

Advertising agency BBH has launched an initiative at South by Southwest that gives out 4G hotspots to homeless people along with a t-shirt that says “I am a 4G hotspot”.

The idea is that you pay the homeless person a small fee in return for being able to sit near them and access your email. The initiative builds on the idea of street newspapers, which are print publications created and sold by homeless people. However, these publications — like other newspapers — are also suffering at the hands of digital media. So BBH decided to “modernise” the street newspaper. But instead of delivering content, they decided to deliver access to content.

The results is the Homeless Hotspots project, which involves homeless individuals from the Front Steps Shelter carrying MiFi devices. South by Southwesters desperate for an internet hit are invited to introduce themselves and then log into their 4G network. Users pay what they want, either in cash or through a PayPal link on the Homeless Hotspots site to that the team can track finances. In each case the money will go directly to the individual who gave you access.

central website lets you find out where the Homeless Hotspots are located and find out a little bit more about the participating individuals. BBH sees SXSW as a beta test and hopes to “optimise and validate this platform” so that it can be adopted on a wider scale.

Read the whole story by the Wired UK. Read the original story here.