With more than 10,000 telephone booths lying dormant throughout New York City for almost a decade, a plan has been hatched in order to turn these once much-relied relics into a modern purpose. Google funds free Wifi zones in phone booths all across the city, in a move that will see more and more New Yorkers given access to free wireless internet.
Sidewalk Labs, the Google-backed initiative that focuses on improving life in cities, announced the plans to convert the many unused phone booths into wireless hotspots that will be free to access. The idea came from a winning entry in the Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge from the project LinkNYC. Since the service contracts for the phones expired in 2014, they have just simply been sitting there, with the new plans in place, the booths will add more than just a wifi hotspot. Plans are to include making every single phone booth an interactive kiosk, which includes phone charging capabilities, interactive screens which would provide information for tourists and locals alike, as well as providing free national phone calls. The free internet access will be available in a 150ft radius, and advertising screens will be implemented on the booths in order to finance the ongoing project.
This move could spark more like it across the world, which could potentially save millions as instead of having to dispose of the countless phone booths in various cities, they could instead be used to further boost the city’s revenue, as well as providing information services to citizens as well as tourists. By not only implementing new technologies within a city, but by using existing infrastructure it would save millions on the setup alone, not to mention the reduction of living costs for citizens by providing free internet access.
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