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New York City resurrects payphone installations as free Wi-Fi hotspots

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New York City has launched a pilot program to turn 10 payphone kiosks in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn into Wi-Fi hotspots.

payphone flickr
payphone flickr

Kiosks that once housed New York City's payphones are coming back as Wi-Fi hotspots. The first installation of the city's pilot program can be found near the corner of West 58th Street and Broadway, with nine additional locations planned in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Gothamist reports that at the kiosks — which will have appropriate "Free Wi-Fi" labels — unlimited internet access will be granted to anyone connected up to an estimated 200 feet away. Recently, New York City has been home to a growing public Wi-Fi presence, with wireless internet connections planned for 20 parks and Boingo and Google offering free hotspots throughout the city and in subway stations this summer.

Wi-Fi conversions are just one example of what can be done with the 10,000 installations throughout the area as the city plans for future development once the current payphone franchise contract ends on October 15, 2014. Feedback regarding the pilot program and suggestions for other alternatives are currently being accepted by the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT).