Remember the last time you used a pay phone? Yeah, neither do I. And it looks as if New York City is thinking the same thing as they’re working with pay phone and broadband companies to turn those old boxes into free wireless hotspots by using “military grade” antennas to spread the signal. Currently the city is running a pilot program with ten different boxes. There is currently one in Queens, two in Brookland and seven in Manhattan. If you would like to view the full list of free wireless hotspots check out this Tumblr post.
Installing one of these boxes costs roughly $2,000, which is being paid for by Van Wagner Communications. Van Wagner owns most of the city’s pay phones and would like to spread these boxes to more of NYC’s 13,000 pay phones. And while they aren’t running ads as of now, this is very likely to happen in the future to make these hotspots profitable. All future support for these wireless hotspots will be paid for by Van Wagner and other communication companies in the city.
To me, this is a great solution for reusing old pay phones. Since the mobile age is in full effect most of us rely on our mobile devices for communication and rarely find ourselves needing to use a landline or pay phone. And with all of the cell phone congestion in New York City, I think this plan will benefit everyone, even wireless carriers. What do you think? Let us know by leaving a comment on this post.