Phone Booths: City issues RFP calling for ubiquitous free Wi-Fi

After many months of work and extensive consultations with the community , the Departement of Information Technology just  issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the creation of a robust, citywide network of Internet hotspots that will constitute one of the largest free Wi-Fi networks in the country, greatly increasing access to broadband connectivity across the five boroughs. By replacing the aging network of public pay telephones with state-of-the-art public connection points, the city aims to transform the physical streetscape—and New Yorkers’ access to information—while also creating new local jobs for the development, servicing and maintenance of the structures.

It calls for the vendors to provide various sizes of booths, smaller that the current ones, only two panels of advertisement, 311, 911 and Wi-Fi on all stations. The vendors are encouraged to provide interchangeable services like cell battery recharge.

Thanks to our advocacy , and the help of Manhattan Community Boards, Gale Brewer and Scott Stringer, the RFP also calls for a more balanced distribution of service in the City, a reasonable number of installations in Manhattan, new stricter guidelines for placement and a consultation with Community Boards and elected for installations and relocations.

The responses are due in June. The contract should be awarded in 2014. You can consult the full text of the RFP here. 

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