I was recently traveling and I came across an old payphone kiosk at the New Orleans airport. It stood out to me because there were no phones in the kiosk; there was just a row of spaces where phones used to be. In our mobile world, the payphone has had less and less of a role in our daily lives and less so for those in urban areas. So what do we do with those old kiosks? New York City has an idea.
According to the NYC blog, “The City today announced a pilot program to add free public Wi-Fi at payphone kiosks throughout the five boroughs. Here are the 10 initial locations with Wi-Fi service. Additional hotspots will come in the following months.” The hotspots, for now, will not cost anything. Users will simply accept terms and be redirected to the city’s tourism page. With a range of about 300 feet per hotspot, it would certainly improve mobile usage for not only local residents but for tourists as well.
So, is municipal internet like this a good idea? Is it an improvement over older infrastructures that existed in cities like Philadelphia which has since turned off? I see this as a boon for local businesses to leverage smartphone technology, local based applications, and for those of us in the Google ecosystem, faster access to all of their services. Share your thoughts in the comments.]]>