The city of New York a few years back decided it would be a good idea to replace the city’s array of dated payphones with Wi-Fi kiosks offering up free gigabit-speed wireless. They’d also be equipped with a tablet so users could perhaps get directions or look up something online as well as an audio jack and USB chargers.
The first hubs went live in January with a total of 400 having been rolled out since that time. Yet just eight months later, LinkNYC – the operators of the kiosks – is disabling the ability to surf the web using the embedded tablets.
In a service update published on Wednesday, LinkNYC said some users have been monopolizing the tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from using them and frustrating residents and businesses in the process.
According to The New York Times, the kiosks at times attract large groups that linger for hours, sometimes drinking and doing drugs. Worse yet, some users are even brave enough to watch pornography – a fact that was recently corroborated by the New York Post who told the story of a resident that witnessed a man masturbating in public while at the kiosk, apparently not trying to hide his indiscretions in the least bit.
Motherboard found that many users essentially camp out at the kiosks, using the tablets to watch music videos on YouTube and check Facebook for hours and even days at a time.
LinkNYC stresses that it is only removing the ability to surf the web at its kiosks. All other amenities, such as being able to place free phone calls, look at maps, charge devices, access 911 and so on, will remain intact. The speedy Wi-Fi also isn’t going anywhere, we're told.