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Verizon Communications is turning off the free wireless Internet access it beams from New York City telephone booths for DSL subscribers who use laptops away from home or the office.

The company's Verizon Wireless unit has announced plans to accelerate the deployment of a fee-based cellular Internet service in the New York area.

The free service was provided by installing short-range Wi-Fi transmitters in hundreds of telephone booths starting in May 2003. Back then, Verizon was trying to jump-start its DSL business in a bid to catch up with rival providers of high-speed broadband service, particularly cable TV companies.

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