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Google Re-purpose Old Phone-booths into WiFi Pylons

theverge.com
When was the last time you used a phone-booth? Unless you're jacking in and out of the matrix on a regular basis, or you were recently pinned down by a crazed sniper, the answer is probably 'what's a phone-booth?'

It's probably fair to say that there has been a spike in phone-booth use since the introduction of smartphones, since most of them have such woeful battery longevity, but across much of the world they've been demoted from useful to 'in the way'. It's kind of sad, in a way, there's a kind of nostalgic 'film noir' appeal to phone-booths, using one makes you feel like you've got some highly sensitive information to impart.

Well, Google have now found a way to preserve the outdated totems, whilst giving them a new, more practical purpose. Across New York, old booths are being transformed into WiFi hot-spots.Through a new company called Sidewalk Labs, the search engine giant plans to start activating their new 'WiFi Pylons' this autumn. Each one will, aside from granting internet access, provide power sockets for charging phones and a touch screen information hub for directions and general city information.

The initiative will cover 10,000 stations, 6,400 of which will be made from old phone-booths. It probably won't quite be enough to completely coat the city in free WiFi, but it will likely mean that residents are never more than a few blocks from it. New York City is 304.8 square miles across, which would mean that this project will yield 32 pylons per square mile, on average.

How the access will actually work is another matter. In London WiFi is available across the entire of the underground, but it's handled through a registry system and you have to be on certain networks to be able to use it. In any case, the movement will be hugely beneficial for connectivity across NYC, and is expected to create hundreds of new job opportunities. 


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Google Re-purpose Old Phone-booths into WiFi Pylons Reviewed by Callum Davies on Friday, June 26, 2015 Rating: 5

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