Out with the old and in with the new. For New York (and everywhere they still exist) the old are phone booths, and the new are public access WiFi hubs – something that can benefit millions. The more than 7,500 phone booths across the city will be replaced with LinkNYC’s “access points.” In addition to broadcast Internet access within a 150-foot radius, they will also feature USB charging ports, large advertising displays, and a built-in touchscreen browser that will allow users to search the web, view maps and make free calls from the street. All of this for free, and up to 20 times faster than the average broadband connection.
The plan was originally announced in November 2014, but workers started installing the first access points last week near Union Square. After a few weeks of beta testing, New Yorkers will be able to start using the hubs to get online. The city is expected to get another 500 hubs by mid-July, and when the project is complete, people should be able to hop from WiFi hotspot to WiFI hotspot as they travel through the metropolis with their smartphones.
In an added bonus to the city – the WiFi hubs are expected to bring in $500 million in advertising revenue over the next 12 years.