NYC Converting Payphones into Wi-Fi Hotspots

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New York City plans to turn its 9,903 active (but mostly unused) public payphones into the fastest and largest municipal Wi-Fi network in the world!


Up to 10,000 payphones will be replaced by sleek 9.5-foot-tall Wi-Fi hubs called Links (from the project’s name – LinkNYC). The links will offering anybody within a 150 foot range unlimited internet access at super-high speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. That’s about 20 times faster than the average home connection, and many many times faster than the other free hotspots that you’ve probably experienced.


The Links will offer:

  • Free 24/7 public Wi-Fi
  • Free phone calls anywhere in the U.S.
  • A touchscreen tablet interface to access City services, directions and more
  • Easy access to 911 and 311
  • Free charging station for your mobile devices
  • Digital displays for advertising and public service announcements


Though transforming up to 10,000 payphones across New York City’s 5 boroughs is estimated to cost 200 million dollars, none of this is cost is going to affect the taxpayer. Instead it will be paid for by advertising revenues from the kiosks’ digital displays.


NYC’s mayor Bill de Blasio, predicts that using the payphone infrastructure will significantly improve public availability of broadband access, invite new digital services, and increase the revenue of New York City. To realize the plan, the mayoral administration issued a request for proposals earlier this year, and ultimately awarded the project to CityBridge – a group comprised of major industry players including Qualcomm and Titan.

Visionaries + Movers

Bill de Blasio (Mayor of NYC)

Photos via: LinkNYC

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