Here is a really, really beautiful idea that. If successful, it’s a concept that should be replicated in cities around the United States and the world. Behold the CityBridge network of WiFi hotspots that will replace New York City’s aging and out-of-time payphones.
That said, Washington Post reports that New York City has selected a consortium of advertising, technology and telecom companies to build the CityBridge network of WiFi hotspots. The kiosks are designed (bottom image) to replace the city’s largely obsolete payphone and, in the end, will repay taxpayers the setup cost and then some.
“New York has unveiled the most ambitious plan yet for the pay phone of the future, which will, among things, require no pay to make domestic phones calls, and function as much more than a phone,” writes the Post.
That is, of course, assuming the city and its private backers, call ‘em CityBridge, can actually tap the “astonishingly large revenue stream from sophisticated digital advertising” they expect. While CityBridge is expected to cost $200 million to set up and run, the city et al hope to bring in $500 million over the next 12 years.
WiFi Hotspots For The Ages
If things go well, as many as 10,000 WiFi hotspots will be installed NYC’s five boroughs, replacing the remaining 6,500 payphones.
Gosh this is a beautiful idea — government and private companies coming together in a venture they’re confident will liberally squirt both public data and profits. Forgive my cynicism, but I won’t be holding my breath (no matter how bad I want it) waiting for NYC CityBridge Wifi hotspot network to succeed…
What’s your take?