Ad-supported communications is not a new idea in telecommunications. But it is getting much more attention these days as service providers experiment with new business models.
Decommissioned payphone booths will become public Wi-Fi hotspots in New York, as part of an initiative by Sidewalk Labs, a Google-backed urban innovation startup that will rely on advertising to support its menu of free Internet access to anyone in a 150-foot radius, free phone charging, phone calling, Internet browsing and access to local services and information.
Sidewalk Labs leads a group of investors acquiring Control Group and Titan, among the companies working on the LinkNYC network to blanket New York City with free Wi-Fi.
The intent is to extend the concept to other cities.