New York City Issues Tender for City-Wide Wi-Fi Network
Published on: 5th May 2014
USA 's New York City has called for tenders to build what the city government says will be one of the largest free Wi Fi networks in the country. The plan is to replace the aging network of public pay telephones with public Wi Fi hotspots.
The RFP covers the installation of around 10,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots across the city.
"For years, the question was, 'What to do with payphones?' and now we have an answer. By using a historic part of New York's street fabric, we can significantly enhance public availability of increasingly-vital broadband access, invite new and innovative digital services, and increase revenue to the city-all at absolutely no cost to taxpayers." said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
This RFP was developed following a lengthy public outreach process that began in 2012 when DoITT issued a Request for Information (RFI) about the future of the payphone. Through the subsequent Reinvent Payphones Design Challenge in 2013, the city engaged urban designers, planners and technologists to create physical and virtual prototypes to imagine the future of these structures. The city received more than 125 submissions, featuring a variety of innovations, from augmented reality and hyper-local sensors to voice and gesture controlled kiosks.
Based on public input, the new RFP is structured to allow the maximum range of proposals-from relatively simple designs to more elaborate, high-tech communication devices with a variety of service offerings and capabilities. In addition to 24/7 free Wi-Fi, the communication structures will continue to offer phone services, including free 911 and 311 calls. New services may include cell phone charging stations and touch screens that provide information or facilitate business transactions. These installations will also provide the city with an additional means of disseminating emergency notifications and information during citywide events. Proposers are also encouraged to include the use of independent power sources, such as solar energy.
The winning proposal will provide for the installation, operation, and maintenance of up to 10,000 public communication points distributed across the five boroughs. These structures will replace and supplement the roughly 7,300 current public payphone installations across New York City. New structures will be funded primarily through the sale of digital advertising in commercial corridors and must be deployed within four years. The franchise will produce $17.5 million in guaranteed annual revenue for the City of New York through the end of the franchise in June 2026.