On Monday, Google along with other Tech giants held a meeting in which they expressed interest in turning New York City’s nearly obselete pay phone kiosks into Wi – Fi hot spots for the connected community.
This idea was originally proposed in 2012 by then Mayor Bloomberg, now nearly two years later Mayor Bill de Blasio along side 50 other companies including Samsung, IBM, Cisco, and Google are looking to further these plans. The tremendous response from the business world regarding these plans for nyc show the very real chance of this idea coming to life in the near future.
There are currently around 7,300 public pay-phone kiosks located throughout New York City’s five boroughs, with over half including advertising. Millions of dollars generated annually from those ads would be shared between the city and the company behind the winning bid, officials said.
The city is hoping to see the implementation of 24/7 Wi-Fi hotspots that would provide free Internet access at ad-displaying sites, each with a Wi-Fi range of around 26 meters (85 feet).
Besides retaining the ability to make calls from the kiosks, the DoITT said it would like to see proposals that build other services into the sites, including free local calls, text messaging capabilities, mobile device charging stations, touchscreens that offer local information or facilitate business transactions, and sensors to monitor the immediate environment – an area in which Google has recent experience.
Should Google submit a bid and have it chosen by the DoITT, it would form part of its wider efforts to provide fast and reliable Internet access to communities both in the US and internationally. Besides Project Loon, which aims to bring the Internet to isolated communities around the world via high-flying balloons, the Mountain View company is also continuing with Google Fiber, a project focusing on the provision of ultra-high-speed Internet that currently involves several cities in the U.S.
New York City’s pay-phone kiosks are currently operated by 10 companies through a franchise agreement with the DoITT. This, however, ends in October, motivating city officials to seek out the best way to modernize the facilities.