NYC Pay Phones Could Become Wi-Fi Hotspots Soon

May 1, 2014 | Andy Cush

We’ve been hearing rumblings about a plan to turn NYC pay phones into free, public Wi-Fi hotspot for years now, but not much has materialized. According to the de Blasio administration, however, that could change soon.

Yesterday, the city issued a request for proposals to transform up to 10,000 of the mostly unused telephones into “public communications structures,” with free, 24-hour Wi-Fi and enough phone service to call 911 or 311. “Making these pay phones digitized, 21st-century Wi-Fi hot spots is going to be incredibly exciting for so many New Yorkers who otherwise have a hard time getting access,” said counsel to the mayor Maya Wiley.

Updating pay phones for the 21st also means a slew of new technologies for marketers, and under the terms of the proposal, the new “communications structures” could be as large as 10 feet tall. That’s a big video ad.

(Photo: @Michael Dougherty)