Friday, April 29, 2005

Verizon Phone Booth Wi-Fi in NYC To End

Verizon Communications Inc. has announced that it will end its wireless Internet service from its New York City phone booths effective June 30. The company had been offering the Wi-Fi service free exclusively to subscribers of Verizon Online Internet-access service. Verizon said it was shifting its focus to other wireless technologies.

According to Verizon, 365 phone booths had been outfitted with wireless routers. The Wi-Fi-enabled phone booths are easily identifiable by their weatherproof antennas, some of which looked like small black hats. The Verizon Wi-Fi service began in May 2003.

In practice I found the Wi-Fi connections unreliable or unavailable even when I stood in front of a working access point. At any given time dozens of the locations listed in Verizon's New York City hotspot directory were marked "temporarily unavailable."

By contrast I've found the free Wi-Fi service provided by the Bryant Park Restoration Corp. in Bryant Park, located behind the famous dual-lioned New York Public Library, to be fairly reliable.

What's your experience with Verizon Wi-Fi? Of course I want to know.

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