‘Homeless Hotspots’ Stir Debate At SXSW

Source: Brett Molina / USA Today

Visitors of the South by Southwest festival in Austin have found an interesting outlet for access to high-speed Internet connections: the homeless.

A test program called Homeless Hotspots — described as a “charitable experiment” by creators BBH Labs — takes members of Austin’s homeless population and equips them with 4G MiFi devices.

Wearing T-shirts that read “I’m (Name). I’m a 4G Hotspot,” they collect donations from users for the connection. The official website for Homeless Hotspots suggests $2 for every 15 minutes, but BBH’s Saneel Radia says in a blog post users can pay as much as they want.

“All proceeds paid for access go directly to the person selling you access,” reads a statement on the Homeless Hotspots website. “This is a form of income for them.”

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