“Garbage in, garbage out” wasn’t a phrase invented for the internet, but it’s a pretty good descriptor of it nonetheless. So of course it makes sense that in the near future, New York City’s garbage cans could be providing Wi-Fi connectivity according to CityLab. This way when you’re out in public, you’ll be able scroll through Instagram and everyone’s bad tweets, without running your battery down to the point where you jump onstage at a Broadway play to try to charge your phone.
You might remember that the city was already planning on turning our old decrepit pay phones into wifi hotspots, but apparently that didn’t have enough symbolism baked into it. So the Downtown Alliance partnered with Bigbelly, the makers of solar-powered “smart garbage cans” that already have fancy computer sensors in them, to put Wi-Fi hotspots in two of the city’s Bigbellys to see how they’d do at providing Wi-Fi.
As it turns out, garbage cans are great at delivering the utility that brought us goatse, GamerGate, a story about a woman having sex with Minions (that link is what it says it is, you’ve been warned) and your racist uncle’s Facebook feed. The Downtown Alliance found the hotspots delivering speeds between 50 and 75 megabits per second from the trash compactors, which to be fair, is faster than the bullshit internet we get out of a normal modem.
This was of course only from two Bigbellys, so the switch to garbage-based ISPs won’t happen overnight. Still, Williamsburg and Greenpoint are getting 200 of the garbage cans, and CityLab says that researchers are planning more pilot testing, with the hopes of expanding the system through grants and sponsorship. So it’s really not a stretch to think that in the near future, your garbage tweets will actually be coming from the garbage can.