Thursday, December 11, 2014

Goodbye NYC Payphones; Hello Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Rendering: LinkNYC
NYC approved on Wednesday a deal to replace New York City’s payphones with free Wi-Fi hot spots.

The city will eventually install 10,000 LinkNYC towers. Users will be able to pick up Wi-Fi on their mobile devices, make free calls within the U.S., and charge their devices. The Wi-Fi signal will extend 150 feet from each link.

The first units to be installed will offer 1 gigabit Wi-Fi speeds, enabling someone to download a 2-hr movie in under a minute. These kiosks will have dynamic advertising. A slower model (one-tenth the speed), without ads, will be installed in residential areas, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.

A number of questions remain, including data security. (Such as: How can we trust with our data with the company that hid 500 trackers in Manhattan payphones last year? After they were outed by Buzzfeed in October, the mayor ordered them to rip them out.)

Also, in this city of immigrants, what do people do who lack "devices?" Payphones in hospitals and around the courthouses are still busy. What do these users do when they are replaced with Wi-Fi kiosks?

NYC approves plans to replace payphones with free Wi-Fi hotspots [Brooklyn Eagle]

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