Codebreaker

Wifi hubs in New York City payphones

John Moe Jul 12, 2012

While this lacks the direct charm of building a library inside an abandoned Wal-Mart, it’s still pretty cool. New York City still has plenty of payphones on the streets, in various states of functionality. Now some of them are getting a new lease on life and becoming free WiFi hotspots. The spots are operated by the city and don’t have any advertising, they’re just marked as “Free Wi-Fi”

From Gothamist:

The estimated radius of the signal is about 100-200 feet, depending on the location. The city hopes to spread the public WiFi throughout the city—there are over 12,000 payphones in about 9,000 locations. City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, who has previously chaired the Council’s technology committee, pointed out that even though the city has been introducing more online access at schools, libraries and senior centers, they aren’t open all the time, while this would give 24/7 access to free WiFi.

I’m not sure how often someone is walking down the street with a laptop in New York and needing to get online – I tend to think someone in that situation probably has a smartphone – but hey, free WiFi.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.