Old pay phones to become wireless Internet hotspots in New York City
Bill de Blasio reveals a new plan
Following on from Dubai's own annoucement that the Downtown area will be provided with free wi-fi access for all, New York City has revealed plans to work on a similar concept utilising the city's redundant public payphones dotted on almost every street.
Creating one of the largest free public wi-fi networks in the country, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio explained how he will transform those familiar relics of 20th century communication into next-generation broadband hubs.
A network of Internet hot spots that will blanket the Big Apple's five boroughs with free wireless Internet access could provide a blueprint for other big cities.
"For years, the question was, 'What to do with payphones?' and now we have an answer," de Blasio said in a statement. "By using a historic part of New York's street fabric, we can significantly enhance public availability of increasingly-vital broadband access, invite new and innovative digital services, and increase revenue to the city – all at absolutely no cost to taxpayers."
Today, New York City's pay-phone kiosks function as advertising billboards, only some of which contain usable pay phones. The new scheme says the new franchise will produce $17.5 million in guaranteed annual revenue until June 2026, with potential franchisees making money through the existing billboards as well as digital advertising.