Thanks to the worldwide adaption of smartphones, hardly anyone uses public pay phones anymore. New York City hopes to remove all pay phones in the city and replace them with Wi-Fi hubs.

New York City Pay Phones

New York City could increase public Wi-Fi

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio explained LinkNYC was selected to replace the pay phone system. The latter is a group of companies working under the CityBridge name. If the plan is approved by the city, there will be up to 10,000 column-like devices placed in all five boroughs in 2015. CityBridge is comprised of Qualcomm, Comark, Titan, and Control Group. This program is expected to create 150 jobs in fields such as manufacturing, advertising, and technoloy. It would also bring 650 support jobs.

These Wi-Fi devices would also feature touch-screens so users could access city agencies. The devices would also display advertisements and announcements. De Blasio claims the plan would not cost tax payers anything and it would expand broadband access for all. He added, “With this proposal for the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world — accessible to and free for all New Yorkers and visitors alike — we’re taking a critical step toward a more equal, open and connected city.”

Naysayers open up with their concerns

Not everyone is excited about this proposal. New York City public advocate Letitia James expressed her reservations on the matter with the following statement, “Instead of trying to rush the process, the administration should seek a new authorizing resolution from the City Council that contemplates multiple companies.”

The Wi-Fi from the kiosk will extend 150 feet from every direction and up to 250 devices will be able to use the kiosk without interupting service. Areas with heavy traffic may have access points added. Two years ago, the department initially tested pay phone wi-fi two years ago when Michael R. Bloomberg was mayor.