A couple of years ago, it seemed that payphones would be completely eradicated. Cell phones appeared everywhere, and all reports pointed to a day when wireless devices would eliminate payphones—and eventually landlines—altogether. Now, inCode Telecom (www.incodetel.com) has partnered with Bell Canada (www.bell.ca) to transform those payphones into Wi-Fi hot spots.
This new pilot service enables North American wireline carriers to transform everyday payphones into Wi-Fi hot spots. At the end of last year, Bell Canada became the first wireline carrier to implement the strategy through AccessZone, a Wi-Fi hot-spot pilot service. This service will enable mobile users to automatically connect 802.11b-enabled wireless devices, such as laptops and PDAs, to payphone access points in high-traffic public locations.
Behind inCode's methodology lies the simple yet resourceful idea of utilizing the existing wireline infrastructure. Using this approach, the company realized that it would be possible to create an area of up to 300 ft. around payphone locations. Within that space, business travelers would be able to wirelessly access the Internet to download data. Currently, inCode's plan calls for payphones in many high-traffic areas to be fitted with Wi-Fi technology. Those locations would most likely include airports, train stations, hotels, convention centers, and corporate campuses.