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Verizon launches internet booths

The company said there are about 1,000 booths covering Manhattan, and that a few spots in the other boroughs will be equipped with the radio-signal technology, popularly known as Wi-Fi, by the end of the year, the website reported.

The new service was announced yesterday along with price cuts and service enhancements for Verizon Online — the company’s digital subscriber line (DSL) service which provides fast internet access.

However, Verizon was cautious about its expansion into the Wi-Fi market.

“We’re clearly at the bottom end of the learning curve of what this will mean to the users,” said Bruce Gordon, president of retail markets for Verizon, on New York Times online.

Verizon said that while it expects to expand the Wi-Fi offering to other major markets, like Washington, Boston and Seattle, where it has many online customers, it will not make a definite commitment until it has studied how the service is used in Manhattan.

Gordon also denied speculation that Verizon is planning to sell Wi-Fi access separately to computer users who are not Verizon Online customers.

Verizon said it costs roughly 5,000 usd to create a Wi-Fi hot spot. But the company said it did not expect the Wi-Fi investment or the price cuts to its DSL service to hurt earnings this year, the website reported.

Verizon said that these costs will be offset by lower churn rates and growth in the enrolment of new broadband subscribers.