By Paul Bisceglio
New York City’s deteriorating payphones got a new lease on life Wednesday when the city announced a partnership with Van Wagner Communications that provides free wireless internet access to the public at 10 payphone kiosks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
Each kiosk has been equipped with a wireless router whose signal extends up to 200 feet. The service requires no password, has no bandwidth limits and is available 24 hours a day. If you still carry quarters in your pocket instead of a smart phone, never fear: the payphones still work, too.
The city’s chief digital officer Rachel Sterne told the New York times that more public Wi-Fi is one of New Yorkers’ “most frequent requests.” The city already has created Wi-Fi hotspots at libraries, some parks and even subway stations, and the new payphone initiative, if successful, could result in wireless at each city’s 12,360 payphone kiosks.
Rahul Merchant, commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology, said to the Times, “As we begin assessing the future of the pay phone in New York City, this pilot should help us gauge public interest in some of the amenities the next generation of devices might offer.”
Try out the Wi-Fi for yourself at the following locations:
402 West Broadway
458 Seventh Avenue
410 Madison Avenue
230 West 95th Street
545 Albee Square
2 Smith Street
30-94 Steinway Street
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