This New Yorker, like countless others, hasn't needed to use a payphone since Hurricane Sandy. But that will shortly change due an initiative by the City of New York, set in motion by former Mayor Bloomberg and now being pushed forward by our current Mayor DiBlasio. Payphone WiFi is expected to bring those magic waves of connectivity to some 7,300 payphones throughout New York City.
Thus far, a little over 20 of the otherwise useless silver boxes have been wired up with WiFi—locations at the link above—which is provided free-of-charge and has a reported radius of 100 to 200 feet (though I'll believe that when I see it). Mass conversion is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015, or at least, that's the plan—the city is currently seeking bids to install, operate and maintain the network.
"This administration has committed to making New York City work better for every community, and this RFP (request for proposals) for free outdoor Wi-Fi is a down payment on that promise," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "For years, the question was, 'What to do with payphones?' and now we have an answer. By using a historic part of New York's street fabric, we can significantly enhance public availability of increasingly-vital broadband access, invite new and innovative digital services, and increase revenue to the city—all at absolutely no cost to taxpayers."