SXSW Is Using Homeless People for Wi-Fi Hotspots! Inevitable Backlash Begins

SXSW is under way, with it’s film, music, and tech discussions leading the festivities. One of the insane ideas that has debuted is using homeless people as 4G (wireless internet) hotspots!!! All of the homeless people are wearing shirts with their names, declaring they are 4G hotspots, and for a PayPal donation, will give conference attendees internet access for as long as they want (via Buzz Feed).

There are 10 men in the campaign, called Homeless Hotspots, which was thought up by marketing firm BBH. There has been backlash by media outlets, but BBH has defended the campaign (as most campaign people do). The Austin advocacy group, FrontSteps, said it’s getting them a lot of attention, and is a new tool besides printed media for homeless to raise funds. This might be true – have you ever craved the newspaper the homeless sell you more than wireless internet?

Does this seem wrong to anyone? Sure, we all need Internet access, but it seems degrading to get wi-fi from a man without a home. So, is this a) a great new model for homeless people b) exploiting and insulting homeless people or c) great for SXSW folks, because I need internet access in Austin.

Dusty Banner (via
“Dusty is from Corpus Christi, TX. Dusty is extremely outgoing and considers himself a people person. He’s urgently looking for employment as he no longer collects unemployment benefits. PayPayl Dusty’s hotspot, or Venmo money to (646) 820-4281 and save us fees! Be sure to include which HotSpot. We suggest $2 per 15 minutes.”

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3 Responses

  1. 2012/03/12

    […] To get your band on the roster, you must make a unique video, and it must be specifically for CXCW – no rehashes. Check out the website for more details, and dust off your couches and guitars and get ready to rock the Internet. I guess there’s no need for a Homeless Hotspot at this festival. […]

  2. 2012/05/01

    […] course), people need ways to be connected all the time. We saw the somewhat controversial method of wireless internet being distributed through homeless guys at SXSW in Austin. Now, we have 2 addition and innovative […]

  3. 2012/08/22

    […] that customers don’t go from full reception to no Wi-Fi. Wouldn’t it just be easier to get homeless people to sell you Wi-Fi? /* This entry was posted in Morning Music Notes, Technology and Gadgets and tagged […]