Google’s Sidewalk Labs takes over plans to line NYC streets with free Wi-Fi hubs

Google’s Sidewalk Labs takes over plans to line NYC streets with free Wi-Fi hubs

Launched earlier this month, Google’s Sidewalk Labs, an initiative to improve quality of life in big cities, has kept fairly quiet about what exactly it was doing to create a better metropolis.

Today, we’ve learned more about its first project: Sidewalk Labs has launched Intersection, a new company that aims to bring free Wi-Fi to New York City using various pieces of public infrastructure as hubs, such as pay phones and bus stops. The hubs will offer free connectivity to those within a 150-foot radius.

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If that concept sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been in the works for some time now. Alongside its Intersection announcement, Sidewalk Labs also confirmed it has acquired the companies behind LinkNYC, the initiative that pioneered the concept last year.

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Bringing Wi-Fi to New York before other cities makes sense for Sidewalk, given that its being run by the former NYC deputy mayor for economic development. If the project works out, the company plans to bring similar solutions to other cities,  although it has yet to specify which.

Alongside Wi-Fi connectivity, the hubs will also provide free cellphone charging, domestic phone calls, city transit information and more. LinkNYC initially said it planned to implement hubs in 2015, so keep your fingers crossed for the next six months.

➤ Sidewalk Labs

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