In NYC, One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Back-Up Wi-Fion July 17, 2015 at 7:59 pm
If you’ve ever felt like throwing your wireless router in the trash when the Wi-Fi drops out, you may soon thank that same trash can for providing you with an alternative connection.
Massachusetts-based waste management service Bigbelly wants to make the ambitious addition to its solar-powered refuse receptacles around Manhattan, retrofitting the cans with hotspots that could open up connections with speeds approaching 75Mbps.
That’s significantly more than most free connections dotted around the city, and Bigbelly points out that it could expand the service to neighborhoods that are less affluent, to provide wider Internet access across the five boroughs.
First, it needs to receive permission from the Mayor’s office, but the green light would seem to be a formality, given that NYC approved wi-fi hotspot provision in its old payphone booths only last year.
If there is a physical manifestation of the intersection of creativity and technology, New York is certainly pushing hard to fill that role.
The city has become something of an experimental playground for technology companies in recent years, thanks largely to the commitment that previous Mayor Michael Bloomberg to tech companies. Silicon Alley is gradually becoming the East coast’s answer to California’s Valley, while the area around Union Square – in which many of these hyper-connected trash cans will be found – is well-known for the deep pockets of its venture capitalists and angel investors.
The result is an environment in which tech start-ups proudly sport the “Made in NY” badge, which is most famously associated with the incentive-based program that attracts so many movie and television productions to the city.
For as long as Wi-Fi has been with us, seamless and swift access to the cloud has been the ultimate yet elusive goal. If it ends up being waste cans that deliver on that potential, it truly proves that one man’s trash is everyone else’s treasure!