Pay phone kiosks - the remnants of days gone by - are set to get a new lease on life in New York City. They'll serve as the hosts of wireless Internet hotspots.
The city is introducing a pilot program in about 10 locations. It hopes to eventually expand it to nearly 12,000 kiosks throughout the five boroughs. The signal would extend out a couple of hundred feet.
“Expanding the access to broadband has been a vision of our mayor Bloomberg and in an effort to promote his vision for digital inclusion in New York City,” Rahul N. Merchant, the city’s chief information and innovation officer.
The initiative announced Monday is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's NYC Digital initiative. The city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is working with several pay phone companies.
The pay phone companies are covering the costs and business owner Paul Franco said he thinks it should stay that way.
“Why should we be taxed if somebody else uses it, for those of us who don’t use it?” he said. “If it’s a private company that wants to do that that’s fine, it’s a wise use of their money. If people use it, it’s a benefit for all of us.”
Student Sandra Galvan, 20, said she thinks instant connectivity is a necessity.
“I think everybody uses their phone for everything text messaging, for internet - you always need a phone for everything,” she said. “Wi-fi is necessary for everybody.”