New Yorkers may soon find themselves picking up WiFi from some very unlikely hotspots – the city’s trash bins. According to Mother Nature News, Massachusetts-based company Bigbelly has found a way to make NYC garbage cans do double duty as public WiFi spots. As part of a pilot program, the company has installed their solar-powered, WiFi-equipped, smart trash compactors and recycling receptacles around some of the Big Apple’s most trafficked areas.
Cities wanting to offer public WiFi face quite a few logistical problems – the largest being numerous buildings and office towers that can block signals. So it’s easy to see the obstacles that NYC faces when it comes to installing widespread citywide WiFi. But Bigbelly thinks they might have a solution.
As part of a test pilot, NYC has already been installed with a few solar-powered smart garbage and recycling receptacles in popular areas like Times Square. Because the company’s high-capacity waste stations already come with sensors that alert sanitation workers when they need to be emptied, the process of adding solar panels and WiFi wasn’t too complicated.
It turns out that two Wall Street-based smart trash cans performed quite well during the test run, offering strong, interference-free signals with a bandwidth of 50 to 75 megabits per second.
Since the program has been a success so far, Bigbelly, which is collaborating with the Downtown Alliance, has said that it is planning to expand the network by placing additional hotspots throughout the city.