NYC bringing wireless Internet to pay phone kiosks (Update)

Jul 11, 2012 by FAY ABUELGASIM

(AP) — New Yorkers have been making fewer and fewer calls on the city's 12,000 pay phones, yet the kiosks will likely be getting heavier use soon.

The city announced Wednesday a pilot program that has converted 10 kiosks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens into free Wi-Fi Internet hotspots. The plan is to expand the program to all 12,000 pay phones in the city.

"We are taking an existing infrastructure and leveraging it up to provide more access to information," said Rahul Merchant, the city's chief information officer, at a kiosk located at Broadway and 58th Street.

Merchant said the program is part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to help New Yorkers and the 50 million people who visit the city each year stay connected.

The pay phones remain, but a router is installed at each kiosk. The Internet signal extends a couple of hundred feet, Merchant said.

Users simply approach the kiosk with an Internet device and log on. No password is needed. They can connect for as long as they need, 24 hours a day.

Merchant said the city's plan is not to remove pay phones, but to improve them. The Van Wagner and Titan outdoor advertising companies, which own more than 9,000 kiosks combined, are working with the city to add the hotspot devices and are paying about $2,000 for each setup, said Peter Izzo, Van Wagner's senior operations executive.

"With cellphone companies limiting 3G and 4G access, we saw a growing need for free Wi-Fi," Izzo said.

Cellphones have been driving down pay phone use for years, but Izzo said there were 25 million pay phone calls made in New York City last year.

Izzo said the companies hope traffic to the hot spots — and the advertising there — will generate more advertising profit.

Explore further: Making smartphone browsing 20% faster while reducing power consumption by 40%

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Heating oil phase-out part of NYC clean-air plan

Apr 21, 2011

(AP) -- The city will phase out the use of polluting heavy oils to heat buildings and will begin building solar power plants on capped landfills, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday in his first update to a 4-year-old ...

New York City launches its own Media Lab

Jun 15, 2010

New York launched its own Media Lab on Tuesday aiming to build stronger connections between academic researchers and media companies seeking to draw on emerging technologies.

NYC fires shot at Silicon Valley tech dominance

Jul 19, 2011

(AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg is firing a shot across the bow of Silicon Valley, saying New York City's efforts to attract a new science and engineering campus will help the metropolis surpass the California region as ...

Recommended for you

US official: Auto safety agency under review

5 hours ago

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

5 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

Ebola.com domain sold for big payout

5 hours ago

The owners of the website Ebola.com have scored a big payday with the outbreak of the epidemic, selling the domain for more than $200,000 in cash and stock.

Hacker gets prison for cyberattack stealing $9.4M

9 hours ago

An Estonian man who pleaded guilty to orchestrating a 2008 cyberattack on a credit card processing company that enabled hackers to steal $9.4 million has been sentenced to 11 years in prison by a federal judge in Atlanta.

Magic Leap moves beyond older lines of VR

10 hours ago

Two messages from Magic Leap: Most of us know that a world with dragons and unicorns, elves and fairies is just a better world. The other message: Technology can be mindboggingly awesome. When the two ...

User comments : 0