This week, the city has converted 10 public pay phones in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens into free Wi-Fi hot spots, and it may be the start to citywide Wi-Fi, says the New York Times.
The Wi-Fi signal will extend 100 feet to 200 feet from each pay phone, and according to the article there will be no limits on usage or bandwidth and no charge to connect.
“As we begin assessing the future of the pay phone in New York City, this pilot should help us gauge public interest in some of the amenities the next generation of devices might offer,” Rahul N. Merchant, commissioner of the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications said, in a statement.
While there is already free Wi-Fi at the city’s libraries and several dozen parks, the pay-phone project could be a way to get online while you’re on the street, looking for food or entertainment recommendations, or just dashing to the subway.
And, according to the Times, the pay phones themselves will remain active for normal phone calls.
Brooklyn’s first two pay-phone hotspots are located at 545 Albee Square and 2 Smith Street (both at the Fulton Street Mall). There are currently seven in Manhattan, one in Queens, and more planned for the Bronx and Staten Island.