In an ideal world there would be free Wi-Fi everywhere all the time. Now Coca-Cola of all companies is moving forward with a plan to make that dream a reality, starting in rural and poor parts of South Africa.
The new hotspots, which the company is calling “Wi-Fi coolers,” are completely free to use. There’s no time limit either, though Coke probably won’t complain if people end up drinking a soda or two to go with their free Internet. The first spot chosen for the new project is by a taxi stand that the company hopes will attract plenty of people. The second Wi-Fi cooler was setup at a vending machine near a fast food restaurant, and both are also located near shopping centers and schools as well.
The project is a partnership between Coke and BT Telecom, with the British carrier providing the actual Wi-Fi along with support and training for each site. The plan is to continue to expand in South Africa, though it’s unclear whether we’ll see these Wi-Fi coolers pop up in other African countries anytime soon. In the meantime, other companies are moving to turn different modern fixtures like NYC’s phone booths into free Wi-Fi hotspots as well. Maybe the dream of free Internet everywhere isn’t so far-fetched after all.