Photo cred - Guy F. Raymond
Free WiFi is hard to come by in Montreal. Even certain areas that have running networks are plagued by connectivity issues (looking at you Blvd St. Laurent WiFi) which makes it super hard for tourists (and citizens alike) to connect to the 'net in times of needs. One Montreal redditor has the solution: Montreal should follow in NYC's path, as the American city plans to transform outdated payphone booths into Wifi hotspots.
Largely unused in the modern age of cellphones, old-school payphones are pretty much defunct, and instead of removing them entirely, New York City will be converting 7, 000 payphone hubs into WiFi hotspots that will provide the entire island with free internet.
The initiative, titled LinkNYC, seeks to have functional WiFi-booths running by 2015, which will be capable of giving folks a working 'net signal up to 150 feet away. The Link-booths will also function as a cell/device charging station and a info-kiosk, with a built-in Android tablet giving people on-the-go-info, like when the next train leaves.
More than just simple WiFi hotspots, the booths of the LinkNYC project will be a major boon to visitors to NYC, and residents, 'cuz you never know when your cell may die or you happened to leave it at home. Montreal may have the Ile Sans Fil network (which, lez be real, is far from perfect and is hardly widespread all over the city) but lacks an all-in-one internet and information station like the LinkNYC booths, for the time being.
A similar project was announced recently by the City of Montreal, called iMap, which will convert tourist signs in Old Montreal and the downtown stretch of St. Catherine into Wifi hotspots. Still, the iMap project pales in comparison to the LinkNYC, with the latter's booths planned to be all over the city will offer much more than just WiFi.
If Montreal doesn't want to copy NYC, maybe we can look across the pond to London, where the city's iconic red phone booths are being converted into green "solarboxes," a charging station that converts the sun's rays into power for your cellphone.
This may be wishful thinking on our part, though the City of Montreal should take the actions of these two major metropolises as a hint: start thinking about ways to repurpose old technologies like payphones into modern conveniences. If you've got a solid suggestion, feel free to sound off.
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