The city is finally kicking into gear its plan to convert the abundant supply of defunct payphones into Wi-Fi hot spots. A Verge contributor spotted one of the helpful technology boxes being installed on the corner of West 15th Street and Third Avenue this morning, meaning the city is making good on its promise to begin delivering the 7,500 kiosks that will give users access to free Wi-Fi, charging stations, a touch-screen panel loaded with information like city services and directions, and allow them to make free domestic calls (albeit on speaker phone) before the end of 2015. According to The Verge, hundreds of other hubs will be installed throughout the city in the days to come, meaning free Wi-Fi for all!—or at least all of those standing within 150 feet of a hub.
The kiosk, formally known as LinkNYC, was born out of Bloomberg-era design competition Reinvent Payphones and has, unsurprisingly,garnered a lot of criticism, as most things affecting New York City do. The brunt of that was centered around the unequal distribution of kiosks throughout New York City, but the issue was laid to rest after more than 400 planned kiosks were moved out of Manhattan and into the outer boroughs.
The kiosks will also have two 55-inch advertising displays that the city estimates will help generate $500 million in revenue over the next 12 years.
· New York is finally installing its promised public gigabit Wi-Fi [The Verge]
· City Approves Plan to Convert Pay Phones to Wi-Fi Hot Spots[Curbed]
· Mapping the Wi-Fi Coverage of NYC’s Pay Phones of the Future[Curbed]
· The Pay Phone of the Future Will Have Wi-Fi, Charging Stations[Curbed]
· All LinkNYC coverage [Curbed]