I wanted to quickly mention this really cool initiative. I read about it in the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia a few days ago, and now it seems it is reaching the US as well. The idea is to turn the homeless into 4G hotspots. Users are able to make donations to a paypal account the homeless owns in order to connect to the network. Really great idea. These are the kind of ideas in our field that really push to change the world.

From CNN Money:

It sounds like a headline from The Onion, but it’s true: A project called “Homeless Hotspots” is turning homeless Austin residents into mobile wireless hotspots outside the South by Southwest convention center.

It’s part marketing stunt, part genuine charitable initiative — and it’s generating lots of double-takes and chatter from those who pass by.

“I’m Melvin, a 4G hotspot,” reads the T-shirt of participant Melvin Hughes. “SMS HH Melvin to 25827 for access.”

Hughes is carrying a Verizon MiFi 4G hotspot. Texting his code sends back his network password, which the recipient can use to suck down a few minutes of fast broadband access — a scarce commodity at SXSW, a tech/film/music gathering that has drawn more than 20,000 visitors to Austin, Texas.

Access is pay-what-you-want, though $2 per 15 minutes is the suggested donation, payable through Paypal or Venmo. BBH Labs, the project’s organizer, says it will pay all the proceeds directly to the participant who made the sale.

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