NYC eyeing WiFi hotspot network via upgraded payphones

Payphones are all but entirely obsolete, relics left over from an age where a smartphone wasn't found in nearly every pocket. Back in the summer of 2012, New York City began converting its payphone kiosks into WiFi hotspots, something the city plans to expand into a large network across NYC.

Today, the City of New York issued a Request for Proposals to make a citywide WiFi hotspot network, which they say would prove to be one of the biggest free offerings in the United States. The five boroughs would all benefit from this rollout, should it happen.

The hotspots, as mentioned, would be positioned where the payphone kiosks exist — something that would both create jobs and alter the city's streetscape, the statement said. Said the mayor's counsel, this would transform 20th century payphones into 21st century "connection points."

The connection points wouldn't replace the phones, however, with phone service remaining with free calls to both the emergency line and 311. Cell phone charging stations and data screens are also in consideration. Designs are being evaluated, and independent power, such as solar power, is welcomed.