NYC plans to replace phone booths with pylons providing free gigabit Wi-Fi

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2014
Visitors and residents of New York City may soon have a vastly improved internet experience thanks to the new LinkNYC program, an initiative to replace the city's aging pay phones with modern "Link structures" that will broadcast access to free, gigabit Wi-Fi.




In addition to free Wi-Fi, the pylons will allow users to place free domestic phone calls -- both to regular numbers as well as emergency services like 911. A touchscreen Android tablet integrated into the pylon will provide access to city services and directions.

The pylons will also serve as a quick battery top-up location, while adding built-in lighting. They will take up less space than pay phones, adding some much-needed room to New York's crowded sidewalks.

LinkNYC plans to pay for the rollout through advertisements that will run on digital screens astride each pylon, making it free to taxpayers. The program is expected to bring in some $500 million in revenue for the city over the first dozen years of operation.

LinkNYC plans to begin construction in 2015, with the first pylons coming online by the end of next year. Eventually, 10,000 structures are planned across all five boroughs.

There is no word on which Wi-Fi technology the consortium will turn to, nor any indication of which company will provide the connection backbone.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40

    Dr. Who goes digital? :) 

     

    Oh wait, that's not a phone booth is it? 

  • Reply 2 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    There is no word on which Wi-Fi technology the consortium will turn to, nor any indication of which company will provide the connection backbone.

    It's teeny tiny little niggling details like these that makes me nervous this will never actually happen.

     

    That being said I really hope this happens, works, and is then rolled out in cities all over the place.

  • Reply 3 of 40
    droidftwdroidftw Posts: 1,009member
    Cool idea!
  • Reply 4 of 40
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,709member

    First of all, whatever it is, it’s not ‘free.’ Somebody will pay for it, probably the taxpayers of NYC, even those taxpayers who don’t use it. Second, ‘free’ also implies insecure like the ‘free’ WiFi at Starbucks and McDonalds. Would you login to your bank or credit card account using ‘free’ public WiFi? Well, the general public surely will. Score one for the hackers and WiFi sniffers.

  • Reply 5 of 40
    techlover wrote: »
    It's teeny tiny little niggling details like these that makes me nervous this will never actually happen.

    That being said I really hope this happens, works, and is then rolled out in cities all over the place.

    802.11a probably...
  • Reply 6 of 40
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    First of all, whatever it is, it’s not ‘free.’ Somebody will pay for it, probably the taxpayers of NYC, even those taxpayers who don’t use it. Second, ‘free’ also implies insecure like the ‘free’ WiFi at Starbucks and McDonalds. Would you login to your bank or credit card account using ‘free’ public WiFi? Well, the general public surely will. Score one for the hackers and WiFi sniffers.




    They actually say who will pay for it right in the piece: advertisers. And the NYC eyeballs are lucrative ones to sell.

     

    "LinkNYC plans to pay for the rollout through advertisements that will run on digital screens astride each pylon, making it free to taxpayers. The program is expected to bring in some $500 million in revenue for the city over the first dozen years of operation."

     

    And the overage will potentially reduce the local taxpayer burden.

  • Reply 7 of 40
    jakebjakeb Posts: 557member

    As much as I don't like ads, I'm totally fine with this. With all the useless billboards around NYC, I'd rather have ads that pay for useful services.

  • Reply 8 of 40
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
     

    In addition to free Wi-Fi, the pylons will allow users to place free domestic phone calls...

    The pylons will also serve as a quick battery top-up location, while adding built-in lighting....advertisements that will run on digital screens astride each pylon, making it free to taxpayers...LinkNYC plans to begin construction in 2015, with the first pylons coming online by the end of next year.

     

    I hope all those pylons don't start attracting these guys...

  • Reply 9 of 40
    I'm betting this ends up an expensive, underfunded boondoggle. If it's so great, let a private company or consortium of companies roll it out.
  • Reply 10 of 40
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,973member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    First of all, whatever it is, it’s not ‘free.’ Somebody will pay for it, probably the taxpayers of NYC, even those taxpayers who don’t use it. Second, ‘free’ also implies insecure like the ‘free’ WiFi at Starbucks and McDonalds. Would you login to your bank or credit card account using ‘free’ public WiFi? Well, the general public surely will. Score one for the hackers and WiFi sniffers.

    Anything a municipal provides is at the cost of tax payers, be it roads, street lights, garbage collection, the police, fire fighters, etc, etc, etc
  • Reply 11 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    lkrupp wrote: »
    First of all, whatever it is, it’s not ‘free.’ Somebody will pay for it, probably the taxpayers of NYC, even those taxpayers who don’t use it. Second, ‘free’ also implies insecure like the ‘free’ WiFi at Starbucks and McDonalds. Would you login to your bank or credit card account using ‘free’ public WiFi? Well, the general public surely will. Score one for the hackers and WiFi sniffers.

    The company will pay for the hardware, and the Ads will be paying for the service, and giving them a profit.

    At least, that's the plan.

    The problem is that this is the 99th plan for free WiFi the city has had over the past several years. It could have been more, but I lost count after that. There's always some sticking point with financing. These are small companies, and need to raise financing for these plans. So sometimes they begin test service, but can't get the money for a rollout, and so it dies.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,709member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post





    Anything a municipal provides is at the cost of tax payers, be it roads, street lights, garbage collection, the police, fire fighters, etc, etc, etc



    Which is exactly why it’s not ‘free.’ Nothing is free. Somebody pays for everything. Just a pet peeve of mine, especially when the ‘payer’ is the public via taxation.

  • Reply 13 of 40
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,381member
    I'm betting this ends up an expensive, underfunded boondoggle. If it's so great, let a private company or consortium of companies roll it out.

    That's what this. Actually is. But in order to do this, they need to get permission from the city, and to work with them. They can't just claim the right to the street property, and put up their equipment. So the city does deals for that right. Essentially, they are leasing the company space on the streets for their equipment.
  • Reply 14 of 40
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    Advertising Age has additional details.

    http://adage.com/article/digital/nyc-municipal-wi-fi-network-ad-funded/295893/

     

    I'd probably prefer static ads, the animated billboards alongside roads I find distracting at any rate.

  • Reply 15 of 40
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,973member
    lkrupp wrote: »

    Which is exactly why it’s not ‘free.’ Nothing is free. Somebody pays for everything. Just a pet peeve of mine, especially when the ‘payer’ is the public via taxation.

    As long as there's no extra taxes, or fees to use it then who cares? This is something I'd like my tax dollars to go to.
  • Reply 16 of 40

    It feels like the 21st century has finally arrived.

  • Reply 17 of 40

    Not sure about the charging station aspect. We get a person standing in a well known place on the city street with a wire leading straight to the expensive phone in their hand or pocket.

     

    There's a certain class of person who might be drawn to this with the thought of 'free phones for the taking'. Let's hope they got the message that a stolen iPhone is a useless iPhone!

  • Reply 18 of 40

    If shown ads, you're being tracked.

     

    I agree with President Obama, the Internet should be a utility. And, as such, should be made available by local governments in public areas, free, paid for by local taxes.

     

    This is just the sort of thing that makes a governing body look good, and protects the citizenry.

  • Reply 19 of 40

    Free WIFI is a scary thing.  It's SOOOO easy to put up a rogue access point and have people to connect through it so you can sniff their data.

  • Reply 20 of 40
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,032member
    The previous proposal included undisclosed beacons placed on each former payphone site to deliver personalized ads. This one may too.

    EDIT: Those beacons have supposedly now been removed.
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/josephbernstein/exclusive-hundreds-of-devices-hidden-inside-new-york-city-ph#c8ro8l
Sign In or Register to comment.