NYC phone booths to become free Wi-Fi hotspots

In many cities, phone booths are relatively rare. In my area, all the phone booths were removed years ago thanks the popularity of mobile phones. There's still a huge amount of phone booths in New York City and New York City is committed to ensuring that those roughly 12,000 phone booths don't become relics. The city is set to turn those phone booths into free Wi-Fi hotspots.

New York City announced in April that some of those phone books would become digital kiosks with SmartScreens instead of phones inside. The smart screens would provide information on the local neighborhood, restaurants, and landmarks to visit. I think most citizens will get more use out of free Wi-Fi than a SmartScreen. The first hotspot booths were activated yesterday with Wi-Fi routers attached to the top of the phone booth.

Six of the phone booths are located in Manhattan. Two are in Brooklyn, and one is in Queens. The city plans to roll out additional locations in the Bronx and Staten Island soon. The city worked with two companies, Van Wagner and Titan, to deploy the Wi-Fi hotspots and provide ads of the booths. Those companies paid for the cost of the project including installation, management, and customer service. The cities pay nothing extra for the hotspots. The hotspots have a range of 100 to 200 feet around the phone booth.

[via ABC News]