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New York Experiments With Wi-Fi From Payphones 56

Payphones have been famously disappearing from public life; cell phones and other means of communication have made them ever less important in many contexts (and for most people). Some places, it's hard to find not only payphones, but usable wireless signal as well. Still, there are a lot of payphones left in the wild (though the enclosed kind seem to be disappearing faster than on-premises ones), and now there's a plan in New York City to extend payphones' useful life by outfitting them as public Wi-Fi hotspots, beginning with a 10-phone trial already underway. It's not the first such project; we mentioned a similar multi-city wi-phone deployment in Canada 10 years ago. And in Austin, I've spotted at least one payphone fitted out as a solar-powered charging station for cellphones; probably not enough to get much charge, but at least it lets users place an emergency call with a flagging or dead battery. Covering Manhattan and the other boroughs with overlapping free Wi-Fi nodes, though, is a different beast entirely.
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New York Experiments With Wi-Fi From Payphones

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  • Nothing new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tastecicles ( 1153671 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:46PM (#40630011)

    The Cloud wifi network has been operating from UK payphones for several years.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @01:53PM (#40630093) Homepage Journal

    On top of streetlights perhaps? Hard to get up there without getting caught and will increase range being higher off the ground..

    Lights already have power, and many have some sort of network connection for monitoring...

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:06PM (#40630243)

    This is the part I am having a hard time grasping. We are replacing "Pay Phones" with "Free Wi-Fi"

    Now back in the days Pay Phones were popular as you put a quarter in and you can talk, people didn't have Cell Phones, however they had Home Phones which were cheaper then using Pay Phones... Pay Phones were good money, and people used them not to save money, but because they were convenient. Cell Phones are more convenient so they replaced Pay Phones. Now we are getting Free Wi-Fi? What is going to stop people and business from using the public Wi-Fi vs getting their own? Do you really want everyone in 100 meters to be using the same Wi-Fi? Where nearby homes and offices will be using it all the time too.

  • by KhabaLox ( 1906148 ) on Thursday July 12, 2012 @02:11PM (#40630301)

    I was thinking something similar. Why not have it coin activated. Put in a quarter (or several), pick up the receiver, and listen for the x-digit key to access the point. Have it reset every 5 or 15 minutes or something.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27