New Yorkers can now enjoy blazing fast free public Wi-Fi. The first LinkNYC public Wi-Fi kiosks are now active on Third Avenue in the Big Apple.
The 300 Mbps capability is approximately 10 times faster than the average U.S. home Internet connection. The project, which is still in its beta phase, was carried out by a four-company consortium led by CityBridge. The consortium signed a 12-year, $200 million contract with the city and began the for-profit venture last year with the first installations taking place in the last month.
The other companies that make up the consortium include Wi-Fi chipmaker Qualcomm and outdoor advertising company, Titan. Design and manufacturing company, Comark, will build the kiosks. Each partner reportedly owns roughly 25% of the venture.
There are currently four operational Links on Third Avenue. Early test indicate the Links have a wireless range of up to 150 feet depending on surrounding structures. This is the first step in city’s larger plan to deploy 500 Links by mid-June and 7,500 throughout all five boroughs in the next few years. The Wi-Fi access points will connect to fiber built by CityBridge.
The city is installing the Wi-Fi access points in kiosks at spots that previously housed public phone booths, and wants to sell advertising on the sides of the kiosks. The city has projected the revenue from advertising will exceed the cost of deploying the Wi-Fi hot spots.
Tests conducted by Engadget recorded upload speeds of 317 Mbps and 280 Mbps download speeds, prompting the reviewer to proclaim, “It felt like I was staring at the future of urban internet access in my cold, gloved hand.”
The kiosks also include built-in USB ports, a tablet to access maps and other information via the Internet. It will also allow patrons to make voice calls at no charge.