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Google Looking To Replace Payphones With Wi-Fi Hotspots In NYC

July 22, 2014 - Written By Jeremiah Nelson

A project that started in 2012 under Michael Bloomberg to replace public payphones in NYC with Wi-Fi hot spots may be expanded, and Google is one of the companies thinking about taking part. There are several companies in the mix, but Google seems like a good fit to jump in and make this happen. The payphones would be replaced with “advertising, Wi-Fi and phone services” throughout New York City’s five boroughs. There are currently more than 7,300 public payphones in the city. The payphones will have to provide free WiFi access but will be allowed to charge for phone service, with the exception of 911 and 311 calls.

Google was one company out of more than 50 that showed up to an informal meeting that took place back in May. The city of New York has requested proposals from the companies that want to be involved with the project. Some of the other companies involved in the bidding are Samsung Electronics, Cisco Systems, and International Business Machines Corp. According to the NYC.gov website, bids are due today if the companies are serious about moving forward with the plan. The cities goal is to provide more of its residents with quality internet access. “The widespread adoption of mobile devices reduces the overall need for public telephones, yet not everyone owns a mobile phone, and not everyone who owns one has connectivity at all times,” they said on the city website.

It’s already been made clear that one of Google’s major focuses is bringing internet access to more people across the globe. The more users accessing the internet through Google services, the more eyeballs will be looking at ads that Google serves up. Google provides internet access at its Chelsea neighborhood offices already. Spreading its reach throughout the city can only benefit the company, both in good PR and in the sheer number of users that would be taking advantage of the free internet every day. Google knows how to roll out internet to users, as we’ve seen with Google Fiber. Now they might be bringing that to NYC residents.