At FON I have been blogging about the possibility of helping homeless people generate income through FON. Many dismissed this idea saying that the homeless are the least technology savvy people but here´s an article on Wired that reinforces my view that they are not. My idea is to get homeless people to go to areas where there´s FON coverage and alert others who carry wifi devices such as PDA´s, laptops, wifi game consoles like PSP´s, Nintendo DS that there´s FON wifi in the area free for foneros and at $3 per day or $10 for 5 days for non foneros and pay them for doing so. Basically they would wear FON T Shirts or carry FON signs.

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Killy_the_frog on July 13, 2006  · 

Hello !

There is maybe one problem, if the homeless do that… certainly many people will think: “in fact they are now working and earning money, so I do not need to give them anything”.
So if homeless people who start to “be” a fon hotspot earn less with FON that the money they usually get by begging… it will not work.

But I still hope, it is not a real issue, and that homeless can start earning money with FON.

Glad to read your blog!

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Toni Lupo on July 14, 2006  · 

If interested I have read throught “meneame” quite interesting posts about “homeless”

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Charbax on July 14, 2006  · 

Promoting Fon with T-shirts on the street is a great idea.. I was sceptical only about the homeless being Wifi-Blutooth internet access hubs..

What I suggested in your other post, is that the homeless could be provided free Fon access, and they could also get a VOIP Wifi phone like this one or some other Wifi SIP phone – The principal thing is it needs to be much cheaper than 299$. Though even if it is expensive, I think the homeless could rent them, and by reselling VOIP phone calls from the street, they could be the only ones taking advantage of such technology as a wireless Wifi VOIP device. The T-shirt would then say “Free Worldwide phone calls*”

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Justin on July 14, 2006  · 

Nice Idea Martin,

Until you think it through and realise that it’s a great way to devalue a brand that has little or no brandvalue attachment as it is at the moment.

I have an even better idea of how you could be charitable and really let the homeless and dissadvantaged add something special to Fon’s offering especialy in urban areas. If you want to know more speak to me.

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Mike on July 15, 2006  · 

I’d just like to point out a few obvious shortcomings to this scheme, since while it’s clear you’re a phylantropist, you seem to take it too far sometimes:

– How do you get electricity for the gear? Are you going to give away FON umbrellas so they can stand in the sun to get juice, but not get a heat stroke?

– How do you get around the fact that people are rather unlikely to purchase phone service from a homeless person, since they are so burned out by traditional telcos (which at least have a phone number and address to which you can shout). Would people complain to this poor guy standing out in the sun?

– Where are you going to send them the money? Homeless people are noted for not having PayPal accounts…

– Taking the above further, if you are going to physically deliver the money to them, have you thought about the logistics nightmare?

– I don’t find the idea of turning homeless people into walking ads for FON a very ethical idea – why not give them t-shirts that say “free phone service” or something along those lines. Additionally, why not cooperate directly with homeless help organizations and shelters, who know their turf much better than you or I ever could?

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gilgam on July 20, 2006  · 


it must be a joke …

You are talking about homeless people, people who don’t earn enough money to have a suitable home. And you are talking of giving tee shirts, and branding marketing.

No really is-it a joke or are you definitely narrow-minded geeks ???

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Vinay on August 23, 2006  · 

I think your definition of homeless is very occidental. Where I come from people who are homeless are those who not only cannot afford to have homes, but also get by with less than a single square meal a day. I work closely with emerging market efforts. If the rural and urban poor (in India) are given access to justice, information and finance – their lot would be better.
While the first and last are out of the private domain, it is sad to see that not one company has managed to deliver Information/ content in the best manner possible to what would be a really large market.

3.0 rating

justus nweze on February 24, 2007  · 


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