Seven Public Places Wi-Fi Hotspots Should Be Installed Immediately

It was recently reported that New York City has installed wi-fi hotspots at ten pay phone kiosks around the boroughs. My first thought was, "Pay phones?" After the shock that those still exist wore off, I started thinking this is a pretty smart idea. In public, having a hotspot saves on cell data bandwidth and keeps your stock ticker app up to the minute, which is what I assume everyone on the street in Manhattan is doing. Also, recycling pay phones is a clever use of a dying technology.

In Texas, cities and states already provide public wi-fi at rest stops (try it next time you are on a Texas road trip!), libraries and sorta-kinda at the airport. But, where else could hotspots be installed to aid the average citizen. I came up with seven.

7. The Zoo

Not only will it allow those Instagram photos of monkeys to hit the Internet quicker, but it gives parents something to do -- since alcohol is verboten in most zoos (damn you, Dian Fossey!) -- when their children are on the teeny tiny merry-go-round for the tenth time in a row.

6. Bus Stops

Few things are as boring as sitting at a bus stop waiting for the number 31 bus to pick you up, and all that comes by is the damn 33 bus. I mean, what's the deal with the 31? Is the driver taking the long way? I'LL KILL HIM! And...scene. That is a dramatic example of what could take place if not for a simple hotspot that allows would-be riders to have their feelings soothed by comments about immigrants and abortion on news Web sites.

5. Public Transportation

While we're talking about bus stops, how about some wi-fi on the bus or rail? It takes one's mind off the dude sitting across from you who won't avert his gaze and smells like pickled herring.

4. Courthouses

Sitting and waiting outside a courtroom for your murder trial to start (what?) is a tedious and depressing activity that would be much improved by the stalking one could be doing if a faster connection to Facebook were available. Sigh.

3. Police Stations

Before you go all, "BUT, JEFF, CRIMINALS DON'T DESERVE WI-FI!" just slow down there, crusader. I'm talking about for all the poor saps stuck waiting to bail out their buddy who got thrown in lockup for pushing an off-duty cop when the cop tried to make him leave the bar after closing time...allegedly. The nerve!

2. Arenas and Stadiums

Let's be serious for a second. Wi-fi inside taxpayer-funded arenas and stadiums should be written into the lease agreements. Not only is it good for fans, who don't have to rely on wireless networks straining under the weight of 60,000 people trying to live-tweet a ball game, but also for the team, who benefits from said tweets. Win-win!

1. Public Restrooms

Do I really need to explain this one? I thought not.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke