Solar-powered garbage cans bringing free Wi-Fi to west Louisvill - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Solar-powered garbage cans bringing free Wi-Fi to west Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city plans to reduce litter and provide free Internet at the same time. 

“The technology is just growing. It's crazy they can put it in a trash can,” said Ashlee Callahan, a west Louisville resident.

Newly installed waste compactors in the Russell neighborhood could help change the quality of life for people in west Louisville.  

At first glance, you might think they’re just a trash cans, but what lies inside is worth much more than garbage.

"They are Wi-Fi hot spots," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

A first of their kind, the city is using Big Belly trash units to provide people in the area with free internet service.

Each hot spot emits a radius of about 100 feet of coverage.

"It gives you an opportunity to stay in touch with the world," said west Louisville resident Samuel Johnson. “It's not like it's coming. It's here.”

Located at TARC stops on 25th and 28th and Market streets, the new technology is the second phase of the west Louisville Wi-Fi project.

“We have the issue of how do we get everyone to a level playing field,” said Ted Smith, Chief of Civic Innovation.  “This is a place that has a rich past and an exciting future.  So if you want to use the only municipal wireless network in Louisville, Kentucky, you’ll be coming to Russell.”

As the city optimistically wait for the installation of Google Fiber, Smith says the Big Belly units provide internet solutions in the interim.

The city launched Phase 1 of the Project last year, which provide free Internet to three spots in the Russell neighborhood.

"Nearly 1,000 people have used over 100 gigs of data. So we've answered the demand question,” Mayor Fischer said.

In an effort to provide more jobs and connectivity to people on this part of town, the city is proving that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

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