Originally posted on Gigaom:
Payphones, those relics of the pre-cellphone era, may just get a new lease on life in New York. The city is testing a pilot program in which it installs free Wi-Fi on select payphone kiosks.
The hotspots are initially coming to ten payphones in three of the boroughs and will be open to the public to access for free. You can see a list of sites here. Users just agree to the terms, visit the city’s tourism website and then they’re up and running. Currently, there are no ads on the service, but there could be in the future.
The effort is part of the city’s larger goal of providing more digital inclusion for residents. And it’s also aimed at helping figure out the future of the city’s payphones, which are a source of complaints from many residents because they attract crime or are just plain ugly.