There’s a new way to get faster Internet phone connection and no it’s not by switching service providers.
A new “charitable experiment” looks to make homeless people wireless transmitters—offering them the chance to share their stories, while making money.
Bartle, Bogle, and Hegarty (BBH) outfitted 13 volunteers from a homeless shelter with Wi-Fi mobile devices, business cards, and T-shirts that displayed their names: “I’m Clarence, a 4G Hotspot.” The idea was debuted at the South by Southwest (SXSW) tech conference in Austin, TX as a way to test the public’s response.
The “Homeless Hotspots ” project aims to bring the Street Newspaper  into the digital age. Street papers are newspapers or magazines that homeless or poor individuals sell as a means to support themselves.
“Our hope is to create a modern version of this successful model, offering homeless individuals an opportunity to sell a digital service instead of a material commodity,” said BBH on its website. “Introduce yourself, then log on to their 4G network via your phone or tablet for a quick, high-quality connection.”
Each participant was paid $20 a day and was able to keep whatever customers donated towards use of the wireless service. The suggested donation is $2 per 15 minutes. Users must be within 30 feet of the Wi-Fi server to channel the service.
“We saw it as a means to raise awareness by giving homeless people a way to engage with mainstream society and talk to people,” said Saneel Radia, the director of innovation at BBH Labs who oversaw the project. “The hot spot is a way for them to tell their story.”
What can you do?