NYC unveils its pay phone Wi-Fi plan, promising 10,000 hotspots


After two years of trials and planning, New York City is finally ready to move forward on its plan to turn old pay phones into internet and information kiosks. It has selected CityBridge, a consortium of companies including Qualcomm and Transit Wireless, to replace up to 10,000 outdoor pay phones in all five boroughs with slick new internet stations called Links.

The network will be called LinkNYC, and it will offer a free, advertising-supported broadband service to all New Yorkers and visitors. The city is promising gigabit speeds from the network, though you probably shouldn’t get your hopes up that your connection to these kiosks will be faster than your connection at work or home.

LinkNYC is probably using new 802.11ac Wi-Fi technologies, which can theoretically support speed over a gigabit if the connecting device has the proper radio and antennas, but few devices today do. Plus, unless NYC is…

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