Even as ubiquitous as cellphones are, in many parts of the world, telephone booths still exist. In some places, newer telephone booths already come with Wi-Fi hotspots, but for old payphones rotting away, like those in New York City, they're finally getting retrofitted with Internet access.
As part of a pilot program, New York City will begin converting existing payphone booths into Wi-Fi hotspots, with 10 locations in three of the city's five boroughs. Payphone booths will essentially blast Wi-Fi signals for free, seven days a week, 24 hours a day up to 200 feet of the kiosk.
The fact is, telephone booths have long ceased to have any real reason to be kept around. They're relics of a pre-cellphone era. Most people wouldn't be caught dead touching a dirty payphone.
Adding Wi-Fi to telephone booths that virtually nobody uses is a great idea, and not one just for New York City. In places like Japan, they've got vending machines that provide free Wi-Fi, so why not a telephone booth?
More Internet in more public places? What's not to love? So long as the Internet works and the connection speed is decent enough for perusing Yelp for a good place to eat or drink, we welcome the retrofitting.
Who knows, maybe the telephone booth will become a new communal meeting spot for busy bees who can't spare a second to disconnect from the Internet.