New York City has put out a call for companies to turn the city’s phone booths into free Wi-Fi and charging stations. This project would make the pay phones of yesterday meet the Wi-Fi needs of tomorrow by covering the city’s streets with Wi-Fi service. A number of high-tech, high-profile companies have already answered the call to supply this service to the city since the chosen company will earn a share of the ad revenue from the advertising placed on the phone booths. PCWorld.com featured more on this worthwhile Wi-Fi opportunity that would provide a connection to a world of ad revenue.
With more than 7,000 pay phone booths throughout the five boroughs and nearly 4,000 of them featuring ad placements, the winner of this Wi-Fi contract would gain access to great publicity and profits. They would share ad revenue with the city and earn at least $17.5 million in compensation. Apparently, streaming Wi-Fi through the city would deliver a steady stream of ad revenue.
No wonder companies like Google, Samsung, and Verizon have been quick to answer the call for this project that would ultimately update old-fashioned pay phones into 21st century communication points.
The basic requirement for the project includes enabling each phone booth that has advertising to feature free Wi-Fi for at least 85 feet around the booth, along with phone service and the option to make free 911 emergency calls and 311 information calls. The city is also urging applicants to endow the booths with smartphone charging stations, touchscreens for transactions, built-in sensors to monitor surroundings, free local calls, and text messaging capabilities.
In response to revenue generation, the New York City is open to proposals for earning revenue from the data collected from these communication points, as well as from data mining and push advertising as long as the operator shares any revenue with the city. And while the Wi-Fi service will be primarily free, the city is also welcoming suggestions for selling some of the network’s capacity to ease the abundance of traffic on the cellular networks.
These pay phones have become virtually obsolete in our current cell phone culture where people always have a phone within reach. But they quickly rose to relevance when these phone lines served as lifelines after cellular networks were destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. The attention brought to these booths inspired New York City to start seeking other ways for these pay phones to pay off. Now, the pay phones of the past could be a connection to people and profits today.
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