Some New York City payphones to become web radio transmitters, er, free Wi-Fi hotspots

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 12:25pm

Wi-Fi payphonesA select group of New York City payphones will soon become free Wi-Fi hotspots. "The hotspots are initially coming to ten payphones in three of the boroughs and will be open to the public to access for free," reports GigaOM (here).

"Users just agree to the terms, visit the city’s tourism website and then they’re up and running... The effort is part of the city’s larger goal of providing more digital inclusion for residents."

We'll leave you to bask in the delicious irony of new smartphones tethering to a data connection transmitted from a payphone.


NC county first to deploy new "Super Wi-Fi" wireless broadband

Friday, January 27, 2012 - 11:00am

New Hanover County, N.C., has become the first U.S. region to make available a "white space" broadband mobile network -- what the FCC apparently calls "super Wi-Fi." (Read more in RAIN here and here). Members of the public can reportedly test the servcie by visiting some county parks, and county officials are using it for security cameras where cabling would be impractical.

County officials say they plan to take advantage of the capabilities of the new technology to provide data services to remote county offices (e.g. at landfill sites), to save money on surveillance cameras, and for other communication (e.g. to transmit water quality data for easier monitoring).

"White space" is unlicensed spectrum in the range used by VHF/UHF television frequencies. Signals in low frequency bands, such as white space, can travel farther and penetrate walls more easily than signals used in common Wi-Fi networks. In 2008 the FCC voted to allow carriers and devices to use certain white space spectrum. New Hanover County was ideal to launch the Super Wi-Fi, as it was the first to successfully transition from analog to digital television (which opened lots of VHF/UHF frequency space).

"For now," the StarNews reports, "county visitors and residents can only tap into Internet access over the white spaces in areas provided by the county... But new products are being developed for other uses, such as consumer-grade wireless devices that could allow Wi-Fi service to reach all areas of a home."

Read more here and here.

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