New Zealand town launches hot spots at pay phones

You knew it would come one day. Paraparaumu, New Zealand residents can now access the Internet at high speed with the installation of a new Telecom wireless hot spot at a local Telecom Payphone. Anyone with a WiFi enabled device in the public areas near the payphone can go online at broadband speed without the need for a cable or phone jack.

National Payphone Manager Lisa Wright said the Paraparaumu Telecom payphone is one of the first payphones in New Zealand to be WiFi enabled. "Local residents, business people and also visitors and tourists traveling with laptops and PDAs will now be able to use the Telecom wireless hot spot," Wright said. "It's a fast and convenient way for them to go online to check emails or appointments or to send and receive information while they are on the move."

The Paraparaumu Telecom Payphone is located near the food court in the Coastlands Mall, Paraparaumu. This payphone will join the more than 400 other Telecom wireless hot spot venues throughout New Zealand located at payphones, cafés, libraries, hotels, convention centers, and transport hubs. "Telecom has the most widespread wireless hot spot network in the country providing a 'virtual' office for anyone wanting to access the Internet whilst away from the office," she said.

Three years ago Verizon launched a similar scheme in Chicago and New York City, activating hundreds of hot spots at pay phones it owned in the two cities. The project is not considered a rousing success.  

For more on New Zealand pay-phone-based hot spots
-read more in this Geekzone report
For more on Verizon original plan
-see this 2003 Wired report 

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