Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the proverbial ribbon on LinkNYC, an ambitious new plan to replace over 7,500 old payphone booths across the city’s five boroughs with free and lightning-fast Wi-Fi. Packed with technology that ranges from Qualcomm Snapdragon processors and Qualcomm Quick Charge USB ports, to Qualcomm VIVE 11ac Wi-Fi solution with Qualcomm MU|EFX Multi-User MIMO technology, these Links are the next step in laying the groundwork for connectivity in the age of the smart city.
Users can connect to the internet, make VoIP calls, and charge their devices for free. Each Link includes an Android tablet that provides free Internet browsing, access to city services, and maps and directions. (For security purposes, the tablets will time out; and after a minute of no activity, all cookies are deleted.)
"Today's a great day for New York City's digital future... a new era for connectivity,” said Mayor De Blasio. He was joined by Kiva Allgood, Qualcomm Vice President, Smart Cities and Industrial IoT. City residents and tech journalists gathered to witness the unveiling, excited to experience lightning-fast connectivity—and to witness what’s replacing the iconic phone booth.
Here’s what the press has had to say about LinkNYC and its blazing-fast Wi-Fi:
“After testing out one of the tablets briefly, I can say one thing for sure: New Yorkers won't miss their dirty old payphones at all.” Engadget: “LinkNYC's free gigabit WiFi officially launches, we go hands-on”
“The consortium of companies behind the project touts that each kiosk can withstand extreme heat and cold, rain, snow and flooding, earthquakes, vandalism and theft (so, basically the conditions of the city throughout this winter). Niftily, sensors in the devices will also be used to understand how the environment is effecting the structures.” TechCrunch: “NYC Continues Its Great Phonebooth Transformation As First Tablets Hit Its Gigabit Wi-Fi Spots”
- “Once you sign into the Wi-Fi, and save it on your device, you will never have to sign-in again at any of the LinkNYC hubs. O'Donnell said they expected a standard 150-foot range for the Wi-Fi, but were surprised to see over 400-foot ranges at some of the hubs.” The Verge: “New York's public Wi-Fi hubs now have Android tablets”
- “The tablets take security seriously. After a minute or two of no inputs, the session will automatically end and all data will be erased. Users can also tap an "end session" button when they're finished to manually log out.” PCMag.com: “Hands On With the Free Android Tablets at LinkNYC's Sidewalk Kiosks”
- “By July of this year, the city will have rolled out 510 LinkNYC hubs across the five boroughs, and within the next eight years, over 7,500 hubs will be set up across the city.” Fast Company: “New York City Officially Launches Free Public Wi-Fi”
- TechCrunch: “NYC Continues Its Great Phonebooth Transformation As First Tablets Hit Its Gigabit Wi-Fi Spots”