The city is looking for ways to turn its aging network of payphones into free Wi-Fi.
It wants proposals to replace the phones with public connection points.
Thousands of stations would be created, offering increased broadband connectivity and locations for New Yorkers to make free 311 and 911 calls.
The project would be funded by the sale of digital advertising.
Cellphone charging stations and touch screens for business transactions are other ideas being bounced around.
Mayor Bill de Blasio showed support for the project, saying, "This administration has committed to making New York City work better for every community, and this RFP for free outdoor Wi-Fi is a down payment on that promise...For years, the question was, 'What to do with payphones?' and now we have an answer."