Councilors want to turn abandoned pay phones into WiFi hotspots

At-large Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Felix Arroyo say that rather than just let old payphones collect trash and rust, the city should use them to set up free wireless zones.

The councilors say Boston could use more places where people could get online for free:

There is a digital divide between different demographics and socioeconomic levels and such a program would expand access to the internet for more Boston residents.

The two will ask the full council tomorrow to approve a hearing on whether Boston could follow New York with a pilot of free, anonymous WiFi.

Think the mayor would WiFi this WiFi idea?



Free tagging: 

PDF icon WiFi hearing request0 bytes


Why should the city put money

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Why should the city put money into this when many small businesses are already offering it for free? Pretty much every neighborhood coffee and pizza place has wifi now.

The city should be fining phone companies for failing to remove abandoned payphones and getting the damn things cleaned up.

As the councilors have said,

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As the councilors have said, not everyone can afford their own mobile hotspot, or even internet at home. Just because there might be free internet access by a payphone that does not mean you have to use it. Keep using your own secure hotspot and let those with lesser means try to benefit from a service that a surprising number of Americans are lacking.

I understand your arguments

But feel they lack some merit. The Boston Public Library offers use of computers and internet, at no cost to us other than what we might be paying for in our taxes. Most colleges will even let you use their services so long as you sign in when entering the facility, and have a valid ID of some sort.

Don't feel like going to the library, and have your own computer? Well then, you can get Netzero for $0.00 per month:

I definitely want to use

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sketchy, slow, unsecured public wireless!

I love having my e-mail hacked and my identity stolen, don't you?

But what about...

Are there really that many abandoned payphone locations??

And what about places like back bay that have wi-fi transmitters on the light poles when the whole 'wire the city' plan was in full swing before that got cancelled...

Let's see if I understand

Let's see if I understand this..... There's a 'digital divide between socioeconomic levels,' so poor people are going to take their laptops downtown, find a former payphone, and sit down on the sidewalk and start surfing the web?


Doesn't make sense in some ways. I'm sure he means well. Oh well.

Another issue

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is that low-income people have figured out that it's cheaper to get a prepaid smartphone, and have 1 device and payment for phone and internet, instead of having a separate phone and internet plan and have 3 devices and 2 bills.

Also, there are some neighborhoods where you don't want to be flashing your techno-bling in public or you'll get mugged for it. These tend to be the very neighborhoods where people can ill afford computers and internet.