Several companies are looking to turn NYC’s outmoded phone booths into wifi hotspots. Google was one among 50 companies in attendance at an informational meeting earlier this year, according to the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications — along with IBM, Samsung and Cisco. But Google has already demonstrated these ambitions, as shown by their widely publicized launch of the biggest free wifi network in NYC, around their office in Chelsea.
The wifi hotspots created by this program would be free, as stipulated by the city. Bloomberg News reports:
The project calls for new designs to replace pay phones, providing “advertising, Wi-Fi and phone services” in all five boroughs. While the companies can charge for phone service, except for 911 and 311 calls, they can’t charge a fee for Internet access, a document said. There are more than 7,300 pay phones in the city.
Getting a public contract like this would be a boon for any brand, but Google would particularly benefit knowing anyone in the New York area would have assured access to the internet, becoming their users by default. (Photo: Steve Ellaway)