Judge tosses lawsuit over NYC's payphone-turned-Wi-Fi plan

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging New York City’s push to turn payphones into Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Brooklyn judge ruled on Telebeam Telecommunications Corp.’s lawsuit over what’s billed as the world’s largest municipal Wi-Fi network.

Some of the 7,500 planned hot spots began operating early this year. A consortium of companies called CityBridge LLC is paying to install them. The city stands to get digital advertising revenue.

Telebeam operates about 1,300 payphones citywide. The company’s suit said the city’s agreement with CityBridge created a monopoly.

The city said the agreement is legal and having a single operator will help ensure the Wi-Fi system runs smoothly.

Chief city lawyer Zachary Carter said Tuesday the ruling means the project can proceed unimpeded.

Telebeam and CityBridge lawyers had no immediate comment.