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Residential (left) and commercial City Bridge Link systems. (Image credit: City Bridge)
 
Residential (left) and commercial City Bridge Link systems. (Image credit: City Bridge)

New York City to offer free public Wi-Fi

Over the next few years, LinkNYC, will bring free internet access to New Yorkers through a network of over 7, 500 Link kiosks.

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Over the next few years, LinkNYC will bring free internet access to New Yorkers through a network of over 7,500 Link kiosks. 

The new venture will bring together experts at CityBridge, a New York City-based company in technology and media, as well as other city agencies. 

The first of their kind, the Link kiosks will provide fast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for internet browsing. The kiosks will also have access to city services, maps and directions. 

The launch of LinkNYC will begin later this month with a beta phase that will allow for feedback from users and give an early opportunity to try out the kiosk’s features. According to LinkNYC’s website, additional apps and services will be introduced over the next few months. 

The kiosks will be able to support multiple devices and provide users with 1 gigabit per second of speed bandwidth quality through a fiber optic network bringing speeds that are about 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi. 

"LinkNYC is the first of its kind at work and it’s really designed for New York City and for the density of New York City and the pedestrian way of life,” Colin O’Donnell, CTO of CityBridge, said in an interview with Metro New York. “This is going to be, when its fully deployed, the fastest and largest free municipal network in the world.”

During the first few weeks of its launching, LinkNYC will be open to the public to sign up and use the Wi-Fi and in February it will release the rest of the features. 

As of right now there will be 10-15 planned kiosks installed in Manhattan up Third Avenue, once all issues are fixed, and the public’s input is taken into account, the full line of kiosks will be launched. 

The idea of LinkNYC came after New York Mayor de Blasio’s administration issued a call for proposals that would repurpose payphone infrastructures with free Wi-Fi, phone calls and advertising.

At least 510 kiosks will be launched across New York’s boroughs by July of this year. 

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