New York City announced a pilot program this week that will turn pay phone kiosks throughout the city’s five boroughs into free access Wi-Fi hotspots. Ten locations are already active.
The government program aims to convert a number of derelict, unused or otherwise obsolete pay phones dotting the city into useful Wi-Fi hotspots and has started operations in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn with more planned for the Bronx and Staten Island, reports the Los Angeles Times.
“We are taking an existing infrastructure and leveraging it up to provide more access to information,” Rahul Merchant, the city’s chief information officer, told the Associated Press.
As cell phones saturated the populace, New York City’s 12,000 pay phone kiosks go largely unused. To make use of the kiosks, telcom operators have joined with the city to divert funds toward Wi-Fi conversions for the locations, which cost approximately $2,000 per installation.
Residents will be able to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi access 24 hours a day with no charge. The range of the wireless routers is limited to just a few feet.
The active locations are:
- Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill: 545 Albee Square and 2 Smith Street
- Astoria: 30-94 Steinway Street
- SoHo: 402 West Broadway
- Fur-Flower District: 458 Seventh Avenue
- Theater District-Clinton: 28 West 48th Street
- Grand Central-United Nations: 410 Madison Avenue
- Midtown-Clinton: 1609 Broadway and 1790 Broadway
- Upper West Side: 230 West 95th Street