We’ve known that New York’s old public pay phones would be getting a 21st century upgrade for a couple of years and tests of the new free internet hubs started in December.
Now the roll out is official, thanks to an announcement from Mayor de Blasio, some more details of just how the scheme will work are becoming clear.
Along with super-fast broadband and charging points, these LinkNYC booths installed by a private consortium backed by Google called CityLink, will offer 24 hours of back-up battery power so people can call 911 “in the event of the loss of commercial power.”
That’s a pretty nifty feature, if the city faces a hack or an attack. The network will also be encrypted to global standards for public Wi-Fi.
But the hubs have also been called a “groundbreaking advertising platform,” giving some indication of what you might be asked to accept if you want free Wi-Fi in the city.
The Mayor said he thinks the fully ad-funded network will not only pay for itself, but also generate $500 million for the city and create new local jobs.
De Blasio said 500 kiosks will be live across all five boroughs by the end of July, following the installation of high-speed fiber optic cables, with more than 4,500 expected by mid-2019.
Originally there were plans for 5G connectivity but that hasn’t made it into the final announcement.
St. George in Staten Island, Jamaica in Queens, the South Bronx and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn will be among the first to get the new hotspots.