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Ovation: LinkNYC.

11/18/2014

LinkNYCWhen our youngest was quite young he was riding in the passenger’s seat of his grandfather’s pickup truck when we saw him poking the armrest with his fingertip.  When we asked him what he was doing, he said he was trying to roll down the window.  He’d never been in a vehicle that required him to physically “roll down” the window and honestly didn’t realize the purpose of the knob on the door.

Similarly, it has recently been pointed out to me that today’s youngsters have never encountered a pay phone!

Beginning next year, children in New York City will never again have an opportunity to see a pay phone but they will have free access to the internet.  At a press conference yesterday, city officials unveiled an ambitious plan to roll out a free city-wide municipal Wi-Fi network that could be the fastest and most wide-reaching network of its kind in the world relying on thousands of kiosks that will be deployed at as many as 10,000 locations currently occupied by pay phones.

The concept was created by a group of companies collectively known as CityBridge who hope to transform the physical streetscape, New Yorkers’ access to information, and create jobs using the network of kiosks supported by as much as $500 million in advertising revenue over twelve years at no cost to taxpayers.  Each of the kiosks, called Links, will include state-of-the-art wireless technology, interactive systems and digital advertising displays and provide the following services:

  • Free 24/7 public Wi-Fi for a 150-foot radius.
  • Free phone calls anywhere in the United States
  • A touchscreen tablet interface to access City services, directions and more
  • Easy access to 911 and 311
  • Free charging stations for mobile devices
  • Digital displays for advertising and public service announcements

Officials estimate that as many as one in five New Yorkers currently rely on mobile phones for internet access, which can be quite costly, so there is a great deal of excitement surrounding the fact that the first of the kiosks could be in service by late 2015.

I’m always amazed by the speed at which technology changes.  While today’s kids might not know how to roll down a window or recognize a pay phone, in the blink of an eye their grandchildren may actually find New York City’s Links to be quaint antiques replaced by something we can’t even yet imagine.

Would you welcome free Wi-Fi into your city?

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One Comment
  1. I think it would be cool.

    Like

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