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Google joins effort to turn pay phones into WiFi hotspots

It may be hard to believe, but New York City still has over 7,300 pay phones! Should we get rid of them or just upgrade them?
July 21, 2014
NYC Plans To Replace Pay Phones With Wifi Hotspots

It may be hard to believe, but New York City still has over 7,300 pay phones. The modern world sees these as being a complete waste of valuable space, especially in a city where every square foot is important. What can we do to make these archaic pay phones more valuable? Turn them into WiFi hotspots, of course!

New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications is calling upon over 50 companies to support them in an effort to transform pay phones into internet-spreading machines. Phone companies would still be able to make money by charging for calls, but data usage would have to stay off their reach, meaning the service would be free.

We know Google wants as many users online as possible, as that also means more money for them. A city like New York is bound to be a major target for the Search Giant, and they are in the Big Apple taking care of business. Also attending are Samsung, IBM and Cisco.


What makes this project interesting is that it would create a complete cloud of WiFi access over most of the city. The idea is that all pay phone/WiFi hotspots would work together. There wouldn’t be a need to connect to each one of them individually, creating a city-wide network like we can only imagine.

Maybe New York City can start a trend we could all benefit from. After all, it’s not really a smart idea to get rid of all pay phones just yet. Some people still don’t own mobile devices, and we all know how frustrating it can get when your phone dies and no phone is nearby.

I usually don’t even pay attention to public phones anymore. I know I would be amazingly glad to see those abandoned devices if I knew they were feeding me data, though! Let’s hope this idea comes to many other cities – Google could make it all happen!