NYC Wi Fi kiosks
Residents and businesses are complaining that New York City's new Wi-Fi kiosks have become a magnate for the homeless hanging out and watching music videos, movies and porn.Courtesy LinkNYC

New York City officials are about to disconnect the Internet-browsing feature of its new string of public Wi-Fi kiosks due to complaints that the homeless were monopolising the service to watch pornography.

"The kiosks were never intended for anyone's extended, personal use and we want to ensure that Links are accessible and a welcome addition to New York City neighbourhoods," LinkNYC, which administers the 400 sidewalk sites, said in a statement.

Natalie Grybauskas, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told the Associated Press: "There were concerns about loitering and extended use of LinkNYC kiosks, so the mayor is addressing these quality-of-life complaints head on."

The Internet-browsing service will be deactivated as officials explore other solutions to the problem.

The 10-foot-tall (3m) kiosks will still provide free domestic calls, charging ports and a high-speed Wi-Fi connection with a user's own device.

Homeless people and beggars have reportedly been among the most avid users of the kiosks since LinkNYC began installing them eight months ago. They charge their phones as well as watch music videos, any free movies — and porn — on the touchscreen near the recharging plugs.

The kiosks have also become hangout spots for groups of homeless people, triggering complaints from residents and businesses.

The kiosks will eventually replace all of the old 7,500 pay phones throughout the city's five boroughs. The service is completely free to users and funded by kiosk adverts. It's run by the city and CityBridge, which is a consortium of experts and tech businesses .