You already know wireless Internet on a personal level, as a useful tool that helps you stay connected to your job, your loved ones and your community. What’s less obvious, but no less relevant, is the growing role that wireless technology plays in public affairs — not just in the U.S. but across the world.
A big idea for The Big Apple
When was the last time you saw someone using a payphone? It’s probably been years, especially if you live in New York. By some estimates, more than half of the city’s payphones are out of service.
Fortunately for The Big Apple, city officials have a plan. They want to turn unused payphones into Wi-Fi access points.
So instead of taking up sidewalk space, these technological relics would provide wireless access within a range of 300 feet and relieve the city’s Wi-Fi traffic congestion. Repurposing the payphones would have an additional benefit for public safety, since many residents complain that unused phone booths serve as a magnet for drug transactions and other illegal activity.
If successful, the plan would be good news not only for New York’s wireless users but the population in general.
A sobering idea in Russia
The regional governor of Kaluga wants to use wireless Internet to tackle an old and entrenched problem in Russian society: public drunkenness.
Kaluga Gov. Anatoly Artamonov believes that providing free wireless Internet for the region’s parks will attract a more desirable element. If park benches are filled with law-abiding citizens tapping away on their laptops, the reasoning goes, there won’t be any room for intoxicated troublemakers.
“If parks are connected to Wi-Fi, then other kinds of people will come – not with beer, but with computers. They will then take all the benches, and those who violate public order will have to look elsewhere,” Gov. Artamonov told Russia’s Interfax news agency.
According to reports, Kaluga officials are currently working on deals with local service providers to put the plan in motion.
Urban renewal, public safety … what’s next?
The millions of people who use wireless networks, like the first-of-its-kind 4G network developed by CLEAR, are familiar with the ways that this technology improves their quality of life as individuals. More and more, it seems that public officials in every corner of the globe want to apply the benefits of wireless Internet on a larger scale.
We can’t predict the next development in the wired world, but we do know that it’s coming.