New Wifi Stations in NYC
Metro coins, cassette players, Blu-ray DVDs… all irrelevant. I still have a DVD player, but I have not used it in over 6 years. However, NYC seems to be smarter than the average person. Just like how Gent converted old city lights into bluetooth enabled LEDs that shine every time a baby is born in city hospitals (yes, this is a thing), New York City has decided to take something that has become obsolete and repurpose it for the 21st century.
When was the last time you used a pay phone? As it turns out, NYC has decided to convert the old payphones into WiFi stations. By July, 500 old pay phones will be converted into a projected goal of 7,500 WiFi hotspots. When the project is done it will be the biggest WiFi network on Earth, catering to almost 8 million crazed smartphone users.
When you are walking down 3rd avenue, try to look for a giant silver pillar with the logo of LinkNYC.
The large silver stations are equipped with many incredible features. Aside from WiFi connectivity, they double as USB charging stations. They also have a built-in android tablet that allows for video calls with WiFi-connected mobile users. They even have the ability to remember you for over six weeks, just like your home WiFi. Another great feature is the large red 911 button on the side of the station. As you can probably infer, it is an emergency call button, which is free. LinkNYC claims that if 500 people wanted to watch Netflix off the same station, they could. This seems rather unlikely, but if it can manage with 20, I suppose it will suffice.
This initiative stems from the office of Mayor Bill De Blasio. He has pushed to make NYC a more connected and technologically-advanced metropolis. The undertaking will not be cheap; a 200 million dollar price tags makes it one of NYC’s most expensive pet projects.
Hopefully it will not turn into the next Edinburgh Tram, aptly nicknamed the “white elephant” as it cost the city 150 million pounds, and it is used only by tourists. In any case, I am excited that we are getting more and more connected every day.