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