Free city-wide wi-fi that's good for the planet, man

18 August 2009

Despite the predictions of plenty of tech commentators, free city-wide wi-fi is yet to arrive; the difficulty in monetising a large-scale service to pay for bandwidth, hardware and technical support isn't a prospect relished by those likely to foot the bill. Forward-thinking cafes and bars recognise the advantage of offering public wi-fi, but we're still a long way to go before it's freely available from street to street. Stealing unsecured wi-fi doesn't count.

San Francisco is planning on changing this scenario for its weed-addled, teched-up hippie populous; futuristic bus shelters:

It's not just the wavy roof that tells you this bus stop is from the future; each shelter has solar panels that will provide the city with around 43,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The LED lights inside the shelter are four and a half times more efficient than the previous fluorescent lighting, and each will have a built-in wi-fi router; 360 of these new shelters will be installed, meaning a modest amount of energy is channeled back into the city grid, and a very comprehensive wi-fi network is created.

Best of all, the tax-payer doesn't pay a penny; a third party company has a contract with the transport authorities to pay for the installation and upkeep of the shelters (which cost $30,000 a pop), in return for revenues from advertising space. Winnah.

[Popular Mechanics]

TOPICS:   Gadgets


  • Tom P.
    "each shelter has solar panels that will provide the city with around 43,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year" Will i get electrocuted if i take a late night pee in one of these shelters?
  • Ian
    Erm, it will be dark at nightime. Therefore solar panels won't be generating electricity. Therefore no electrocution. Goobert.
  • Erm I.
    I'm guessing the 450% more efficient lighting is for use at night. No electricity Ian? How is it so efficient- magic or does it work on poorly thought out criticism. I'm concerned about the increase in late night youtube additions myself.
  • Rob
    People will be ripping the tops off of these to use at home in no time.
  • Ian
    Poorly thought out criticism is more powerful than any electricity
  • Bruno
    I think that this is a great way to go green. Let alone providing the great WiFi acess to the people in the shelter but also actually using all that energy that the sun provides. Go go solar power.
  • Martha F.
    1. We don't get any fucking sun in the UK 2. It'd get smashed to fuck by the dick heads coming back from the pub on a Friday night thinking it's really funny to smash the glass then complain when their mums council tax goes up (tits) 3. The router'd get nicked 4. We wouldn't know how to use it and we'd need some administrator onsite permenantley. Crap Idea
  • Martha F.
    Is that how you spell permanently?
  • Pure-Klenz
    Go Go Gadget Penis...

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