New York’s WiFi Initiative Expands

Payphones are an oddity on city streets. On one hand, they feel like indispensable parts of the décor. On the other, put one moments worth of thought into them, and you realize they are essentially useless. In an emergency, you may find yourself on a payphone , but the series of “only if” statements that would lead the average person to that point are nearly insurmountable considering the plethora of communication options available to the average pedestrian. Still, there has to be some use for the old payphone booths right?

Right. City officials in New York City are starting a program that will turn city payphones into free, public WiFi hotspots. To start, 10 booths across the city have already been outfitted with the WiFi upgrade, and based on the success of the initial locations, more could be springing up soon. This initiative comes hot off the heels of the recent efforts undertaken by NYC to find a carrier that will provide WiFi to select subway stations throughout the city, and seems to be part of the larger Bloomberg initiative to turn NYC into a friendlier, ultra-modern, personalized utopia.

Politics aside though, a good idea is a good idea, and this is a great one. The act of ducking into a Starbucks for WiFi service is a prolifically proficient means of getting internet service on the go, that’s been the default method for as long as there’s been WiFi and Starbucks. While the number of users turning to 3G and 4G service are growing every day, for the vast number of WiFi patrons still active, this initiative could prove infinitely useful if the city is truly dedicated to creating enough hot spots.

Although I must say it is odd that roaming street gangs loitering on the corners may soon be replaced by roaming hipsters loitering at the WiFi spots. Some call that progress, but frankly the hipsters scare me more.


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