New York City Public Pay Phone WiFi 2014

New York City Pay Phone WiFi 2014

wifi-enabled-kiosksBased on this FAQ, New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) regulates the 9,903 active public pay telephones on or over the City’s sidewalks. Of that number, 5,359 are in Manhattan, 1,659 in Queens, 1,691 in Brooklyn, 1,114 in the Bronx and 80 in Staten Island.

All of the pay phones are owned and operated by 11 franchisees that maintain the public phones in a shared revenue model. The City receives 36% of the net revenue from advertising on public pay telephones. The City is also provided with 2% of the total number of advertising panels for public service advertisements which promote the programs of various City agencies.

The franchise contracts expire on October 15, 2014 and the city plans to award new contracts that go through June 24, 2026 that will provide provide free Wi-Fi, free calling to 911 and 311, and provide at least $17.5 million in annual city revenue.

The previous RFI from 2012 is can be found here

The new RFP can be found here. Response is due June 30, 2014, at 5:00 PM EST :-)

Both RFI and RFP aren’t very interesting reads except for question # 9 from the RFI.

Can cellular technology be used effectively on kiosks to provide wireless communications that result in minimal disruption to the City’s streets? Are there other technologies that can be used that are not dependent on cabling under the streets to provide enhanced advertising or communications?

Several of the existing franchisees responded that they are already using cellular data to manage advertising boards and cellular data is preferred over using existing lines due to ease of maintenance and implementation.

My guess is that unless the future franchisees are telecom providers with high speed data access to public phone locations they will probably rely on cellular data for back hauling the 10,000 access points and result in a slow WiFi experience that will become unusable if more than 5-10 devices connect WiFi enabled pay phone location.

The only thing worse than no WiFi is slow WiFi Internet.

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