Social Networks

City Payphones to Become WiFi Hotspots

Connect

Nest Seekers recognizes the importance of networking, connecting and sharing our voice and content with communities around the world.

You can now follow us at your convenience on your favorite community platforms including FaceBook, YouTube, LinkedIN, Jigsaw, Twitter and many more.

Join us, follow us, share us and share with us. Stay connected.

Nest Seekers on Twitter

City Payphones to Become WiFi Hotspots


COLUMBUS CIRCLE — The city's payphones are about to start pulling double-duty as wireless hotspots.

Officials unveiled a pilot program Wednesday that will transform some of the city's thousands of aging payphone kiosks into wireless hubs, offering free, unlimited Internet access for smartphones, laptops and other wireless devices.

"One of the No. 1 things that we hear, that Mayor Bloomberg hears when he's speaking with New Yorkers, is that they want more public WiFi," said Rachel Sterne, the city's Chief Digital Officer, who joined officials on the pedestrian plaza at the corner of West 58th Street and Broadway, near Columbus Circle, where one of the 10 initial hubs is placed.

Powered by "military grade antennas," which are affixed directly to the tops of kiosks and feed off their power, the hotspots' signals stretch about 100 to 300 feet, said Peter Izzo, senior operations executive at payphone operator Van Wagner, which is providing the $2,000 a-pop service for free.

The rollout is part of a larger effort by the city to determine the future of its payphones, which many complain are out-of-date. The city also issued a Request for Information Wednesday seeking suggestions about the potential payphone of the future and the features it might include.

"It's not trying to replace the payphone. It's what other service would you like to see?" said Rahul Merchant, the city's Chief Information and Innovation Officer, who mentioned the possibility of links to the 311 system, business listings or other potentially useful services.

The city’s current franchise agreement for its payphone services is set to expire in Oct. 2014, and officials have been exploring potential new options to bring the kiosks into the 21st century. 

Izzo said the hub near Columbus Square had already logged 24,000 minutes of use during its testing period in June, and said that he sees huge potential city-wide.

"Within 12 months, we could have the city blanketed in WiFi," he said. "We're getting reading for the boroughs to be cranked up."



Nest Seekers International Expands to New Jersey with Jersey City and Hoboken Offices
Things You May Not Know about the Flatiron Building
10 Inspiring Rustic Meets Industrial Interior Design Concepts
Living life on the edge, literally
Brace yourselves, Manhattanhenge is coming!
How to host an open house and attract serious offers
Nothin' better than a loft in Soho
Nest Seekers agent looks to set the record for the most expensive single-family condo sale in Long Island City
Cayman Islands real estate surges as the U.S. and global economy strengthens
NYC Taxi Magnate To List $27 Million Penthouse With World Trade Center Views
The gated estates of Los Angeles’ Westside never go out of style, reflected in a soaring luxury market.
Upper West Side mansion asking $40M now down to $30M
Ryan Serhant on movie role: Another way to win clients
Porter House's Sixth Floor Wants $22M, Needs to be Combined
The 30 Most Expensive Homes In Tech, Ranked!
The Most Expensive Homes In Finance, Ranked!
Real Estate Roundtable: What Is Your Dream Hamptons Listing?
Can the Ritz Brand Carry a $118M Condo in Battery Park City?
Real Estate Roundtable: What Is Your Dream Hamptons Listing?
Manhattan’s Top Listing Agents
‘Million Dollar Listing’ Star Reveals Hottest Properties for Unfamiliar Buyers
'Million Dollar Listing' Star Reveals Hottest Properties for Foreign Buyers
Why a $118.5 Million Apartment is an Easier Sell than an $11 Million One
CONDO CLASH: Broker for $48M Tribeca sky loft with 360-degree views lays down the penthouse challenge
Start-up says it’s redesigning interior design
HOUSE OF THE DAY At $118.5 Million, This Giant Ritz-Carlton Penthouse is NYC's Most Expensive Home
$118 million penthouse listing now biggest in downtown NYC
Three Contiguous New York Condos Ask a Combined $118.5 Million
Meet Robert Canberg of Nest Seekers International
Posh condo sale sets new Queens record as waterfront real estate booms A buyer from Colombia purchased the ground floor apartment at The View in Long Island City for $3.35 million