With mobile phones nearing 100% market penetration, the Chinese government appears determined to transform the country's widespread telephone booths into wifi hotspots. "Telecom operators are also trying to setup hotspots in restaurants, hotels, sport facilities, and so on," writes Asian tech blogger Sherman So. "If the idea is really implemented, they will turn every city in China into a giant Wi-Fi network for fast internet connection." So's post was picked up today by design blog PSFK.
Though the plan raises concerns about the consequences for the disenfranchised, it's not hard to imagine big benefits for economic development. Ubiquitous Wi-Fi seems like one of the prerequisites for bringing a country's whole population online and onboard a new economy based largely on the Internet. Imagine everyone not just reading, but writing to the Web from any street corner they like.