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New York City looks to blanket the five boroughs with free WiFi thanks to next-gen payphones


Free public WiFi has been available in spots throughout NYC, but now the mayor's office is looking to cover all of its five boroughs with connectivity. In a press release today, the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) issued a request for proposals focused on "the creation of a robust, citywide network of internet hotspots." The project looks to transform aging payphone kiosks into around 10,000 "communication points" across the cityscape, funded by advertising. As you might expect, you'll be able to call 911 and 311 for free from the units too. With a target of launching by 2018 at the latest, the project is said to serve up $17.5 million in revenue for NYC each year at no extra expense to its taxpayers. In 2013, then Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an effort to bring free WiFi to parts of the five boroughs by the end of that year. There's also the smattering of WiFi-enabled phone booths that launched back in 2012, but those few dozen are mostly scattered across Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn. "By using a historic part of New York's street fabric, we can significantly enhance public availability of increasingly-vital broadband access,' said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

[Image Credit: Sage and Coombe Architects]

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