New York City has just announced a new pilot program that will turn all those old, unused public payphone booths around the city into free WiFi hotspots. New York’s Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications is launching the test system to provide free public WiFi at public pay telephone installations across the five boroughs. New Yorkers and visitors will now be able to connect free-of-charge around these repurposed phone booths using their smartphones, tablets, and other WiFi-enabled devices. Read on to see where they are!
Currently free WiFi access is only available at 10 locations throughout NYC, but more hotspots will be setup in the coming months. New York City reportedly has around 12,0000 pay phones in existence and due to the popularity of cell phones, the use of pay phones continues to drop. The last franchise contract for the operation of a public payphone was signed in 1999 and all contracts will expire on October 15, 2014. In conjunction with the announcement of the new pilot program, the department also released a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit feedback from the public about what to do with the existing public pay telephones.
“Expanding public access to broadband technology across the five boroughs, be it wired or wireless, is at the heart of the Bloomberg Administration’s efforts to promote greater digital inclusion for New Yorkers,” said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Merchant.
“One of the most frequent requests from New Yorkers is for more public WiFi in public spaces,” said Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne. “Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, today the City provides free WiFi access in a wide range of public spaces, including every library branch and more than 40 parks across the five boroughs. With this exciting WiFi pilot of New York City payphone kiosks, we are proud to take another step to connect more New Yorkers.”
The current free WIFi payphone locations are:
Brooklyn Heights-Cobble Hill:
545 Albee Square
2 Smith Street
Astoria: 30-94 Steinway Street
SoHo: 402 West Broadway
Fur-Flower District: 458 Seventh Avenue
Theater District-Clinton: 28 West 48th Street
Grand Central-United Nations: 410 Madison Avenue
1790 Broadway (event location)
Upper West Side: 230 West 95th Street