Metro Tech

Google Might Turn New York City’s Pay Phones Into Wifi Hot Spots

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The pay phone's last known users. (Photo: YouTube)

The pay phone’s last known user. (Photo: YouTube)

Google might soon wiggle its magical wand and blanket the city in free Wifi. Bloomberg reports that it’s one of the several tech firms mulling a plan to turn those useless public pay phone kiosks that litter the city into glorious Internet beacons. 

The idea, which was initiated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg two years ago, is getting a new lease on life thanks to current Mayor Bill de Blasio. In May, more than 50 companies — including Google, Samsung and IBM — attended a meeting by the city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (whew!) to gauge their interest. Their proposals were due yesterday.

Officials behind the ambitious project want to transform more than 7,300 pay phones into providing “advertising, Wi-Fi and phone services” across the five boroughs. It stipulates that companies can charge for actual phone service, but connection to the Internet must be free.

Of course, Google has a lucrative motive in doing this. The more people it gets online, the more money it generates thanks to revenue from its ads. A company spokeswoman declined Bloomberg‘s request for comment.

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