New York City has plans to convert 10,000 pay phones and turn them into Wi-Fi kiosks

New York City has plans to convert 10,000 pay phones and turn them into Wi-Fi kiosks
New York City is rumored to be doing away with 10,000 pay phones still standing in the city. In their place, the city will build Wi-Fi kiosks pushing out internet signals at 1000 Mbps. In addition to offering an internet connection, the kiosks would offer free domestic calls, and free calls to 9-1-1 emergency services. Charging stations would also be built into the kiosks, giving power users a place to recharge their mobile devices while on the run.

The program, called LinkNYC, is expected to generate $500 million for the city over the first 12 years of operation. The kiosks will also bring new jobs to New York City. It is believed that 100 to 150 full-time jobs will be created, along with 650 support jobs. Each kiosk will connect devices as far away as 150 feet, and provide speeds as fast as 20 times that of home internet service. Up to 250 devices will be able to access Wi-Fi at each kiosk without affecting the quality of the signal.

While the project is expected to cost $200 million to build, it won't cost taxpayers one red cent as display advertisements are expected to bring in enough funds to cover the initial roll out of the kiosks. 

source: NYTimes via Time, Forbes



1. shem2409

Posts: 12; Member since: Feb 16, 2013

This is a great project. I often wonder why access to Wifi in big cities has not become a standard yet. We are all connected to our smartphones, tablets and PC's 24/7 and wifi routers are extremely cheap. Hopefully other cities in the world will follow New York.

2. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

My city (Auckland) has something like this, but unfortunately they are locked to other carrier (Telecom/Spark), not mine (Vodafone)

6. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Ehmmm this is wifi spots. Free wifi spots open for EVERYONE.

8. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

?? That's what I said

3. SonofAndroid

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 25, 2014

So if you live close to a pay phone station then you can have free wifi?

7. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Considering how badly walls affect wifi signal then no. You would have to be in open space near the hot spot.

4. JC557

Posts: 1921; Member since: Dec 07, 2011

The NYC Transit system is also rolling out WiFi hotspots to many underground stations with the goal being all of them. Like with the planned NYC wide system you have to sit through a video ad or have some kind of account (I used the transit wifi operated by Boingo/ HTC which is another rollout). All in all it's quite reliable and pretty speedy to say the least. Time Warner and AT&T are also providing certain areas with free WiFi but tend to be quite slow/ congested. I'm guessing this will be implemented mostly in high trafficked areas for obvious reasons and also as a way to lessen chances of vandalism, it remains to be seen how it will be rolled out to the trouble spots. That said, the remaining hardwired payphones are still being maintained and can be quite useful in times of emergency especially during massive power outages. In the subways you have emergency call boxes for such occasions.


Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

For a long time Ma Bell aka Verizon and AT&T have lobbies to block this. Other cities have started to do this as well for phone and cable.

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