New York Brings Pay Phones Back to Life As Wi-Fi Hotspots

Jul 18, 2012 • Business, Government, Marketing
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Nowadays, telephones are mostly used in business telephone answering services, with cell phones being as prominent as they are. It is in fact not unheard of to work with Cell Tower Consultants in order to get better coverage in your area because your business is being affected. Due to its prevalence other services have cropped up around this as well, such as firms that can assist with mmwave antenna positioning in order to optimize its performance.

However, now telephone booths will be brought back to life again, thanks to a new city program installing Wi-Fi in telephone booths across the city.

The pay phones will be fitted with top range antennas to enable the service be accessible to users in a 300 feet radius. The service is being installed by Van Wagner Communications at $2,000. The firm owns most of the city’s payphone’s and will spread the Wi-Fi hotspots to 13,000 pay phones but the pay phone companies will run the service.

It’s likely that the Wi-Fi hotspots which are free at the moment will attract some fee or have ads running to supplement the costs of operation in future.

Van Wagner is at the moment installing the Wi-Fi on ten city pay phones. The service is being made available here:


  • 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

Long out of use the city’s pay phones will be turned into digital centers for the city’s residents.

This move follows the city’s several other free resident Wi-Fi projects by several firms like non profit New York City Wireless. Free Wi-Fi has been distributed to public places like schools, libraries and senior centers. Another free Wi-Fi provider Towerstream has Wi-Fi but only accessible after watching selected daily deals.

Sam Wakoba

Sam Wakoba travels around the world's technology hubs and events writing about startups, VC’ s and ventures. Spends nights reviewing trending gadgets, ICT initiatives, and disrupting technology.

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