NYC Installing WiFi Hotspots In Old Payphones
January 6th, 2016 | by Kevin James Krotz
Gigabit WiFi instead of outdated payphones
Starting this week, New York City is launching street-side hotspots that offer gigabit internet access. Looking to cover the over 8 million people in the city, the hotspots will take over outdated payphones.
The project is called LinkNYC and will replace each payphone with an almost ten foot tall “Link” that will spit out a internet access for anyone to use. LinkNYC was first constructed in 2014, when the de Blasio administration began looking for a company to make the dream of blanketing the city with internet access a reality. CityBride, a media and tech consortium, was tasked to device a plan to bring 7,500 gigabit-speed units to all five boroughs in the next twelve years.
Looking to provide unprecedented internet access
NYC has now showed off the first two Links that are placed the streets of Manhattan and will officially open them for public use in the next week or two. During the “beta phase,” New Yorkers will be given “an early opportunity to try out the ultra-fast public Wi-Fi” as LinkNYC tests and refines the Links. By July, the city is hoping to have 500 Links up and running, striving for ten new hotspots being installed a day.
Miles of fiber optic cable will need to be installed
Before each and every Link is installed, hundreds of miles of brand-new, fiber optic cable will need to be laid. LinkNYC is promising connectivity speeds of 1,000 megabytes per second, which the project says is 100 times faster than average public wifi in the US.
Each Link is more than just a monolith-like hotpsot. Each side has video screens that play ads, in between is an Android tablet. LinkNYC administrators are hoping developers will eventually build apps for the platform, until then, the tablet will handle basic mapping and internet browsing.
The city is also partnering with Vonage to allow free audio and video calls anywhere in the US to LinkNYC users. Each Link also has two USB plugs for charging mobile devices.
Links will also include a red 911 button that will allow users to make emergency calls for free. The NYPD and LinkNYC engineers are working together to avoid any prank or accidental calls by, for example, configuring the phone’s keypad buttons to work only after being pressed for a specific amount of time.
LinkNYC is definitely the future for internet access in NYC and is surely a game-changer for the city.