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New York City plans citywide Wi-Fi network by reusing payphones

updated 08:19 am EDT, Fri May 2, 2014

Accepts proposals for payphone replacements offering Wi-Fi, extra services

New York City is planning to expand its current free Wi-Fi network across a wider area, the city has announced. The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications has issued a request for proposals to create the network, which will provide free wireless Internet access across the five boroughs, by replacing its public payphone network.

Similar to its existing trial, the new structures in the proposals will need to offer the Wi-Fi connection, as well as phone services including free 911 and 311 calls. The installations will also need to provide a way of "disseminating emergency notifications and information during citywide events," with proposals encouraged to use independent power sources, like solar energy, as well as offering extra features, such as touchscreens providing information or cellphone charging stations.

Existing free Wi-Fi installation in New York City
Existing free Wi-Fi installation in New York City

The winning proposal will be tasked with installing, operating, and maintaining up to 10,000 of the locations throughout the area, replacing and supplementing approximately 7,300 current public payphone locations. Revenue will be generated through the sale of "digital advertising," and is expected to provide the city $17.5 million in revenue up until the end of the franchise period in June 2026.

Proposals are being accepted until June 30th, with the final contract signing expected by the end of this year, and deployment within four years.

by MacNN Staff



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