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US of A begins converting phone boxes to hotspots

In cities across the globe, public phone boxes are cultural icons. From the classic 1929 Mackenzie Trench design (which Dr Who uses to jaunt around the universe) to the iconic red boxes seen across London, we have been used to seeing them everywhere. But what happens when we no longer use them?

The city of New York is in the process of converting old phone booths into high-speed, wireless hotspots.

With ultra-fast broadband on offer, citizens and visitors alike will be able to enjoy 24×7 surfing with, apparently, no data usage limits.

Strong line-of-site connectivity means that the newly routed booths should be able to cater for a lot of customers at distances of up to 200 feet (approx 60 metres). Possibly less if you're an awkward customer and insist on walking around corners etc.

Right now, this is a pilot programme, but the city that likes to consider itself the ‘Rome of the modern world' is interested in re-inventing itself in new and unique ways, and this seems like as good an ideas as any.

The city's hierarchy has done its homework and research shows that ‘a completely connected city' was high on the list off ‘want to haves' for many New Yorkers (although its entirely possible that if the info was gathered from patrons munching cheesecake outside cafes – then the data may have been skewed slightly).

“One of the most frequent requests from New Yorkers is for more public WiFi in public spaces,” said Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne. “Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, today the City provides free WiFi access in a wide range of public spaces, including every library branch and more than 40 parks across the five boroughs. With this exciting WiFi pilot of New York City payphone kiosks, we are proud to take another step to connect more New Yorkers”.

From what we can tell, New York's hotspots will be cleaner and more useful than London's booths

KitGuru says: Great idea. We love it. But if the booths are filled with electronics, then how will the exotic massage industry publicise its most prolific workers?

Comment below or in the KitGuru forums.

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