It will be a little easier to get a good Internet connection on the streets of New York City if the new LinkNYC initiative pans out. The program will replace the city’s aging pay phones with “link structures” that will allow free access to gigabit Wi-Fi.
In addition to free Wi-Fi, the pylons will allow users to place free domestic phone calls — both to regular numbers as well as emergency services like 911. A touchscreen Android tablet integrated into the pylon will provide access to city services and directions.
Each ADA compliant Link structure would provide:
- 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
The pylons will also offer quick battery top-up service for devices, while also adding lighting. The pylons will also take up less space than the pay phones they replace, giving more room on the crowded NYC sidewalks.
The service will be paid for via ads that will run on digital screens installed on the pylons, funding the service without needing to dip into taxpayers pockets. Revenue over the first dozen years of operation is estimated to total some $500 million.
Construction is planned to begin in next year, with the first of 10,000 LinkNYC pylons coming online by the end of 2015.