News / Science & Technology

    NYC Gets 'Ultrafast’ Public Wi-Fi

    NYC Gets 'Ultrafast’ Public Wi-Fii
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    February 04, 2016 12:41 AM
    In a few months, New York City will make history: The city's 8.5 million residents, along with tourists, will be able to access ultra-fast Wi-Fi anywhere in the city, at zero cost. At 3 meters tall, each Wi-Fi portal — featuring dual 140-centimeter HD digital screens for advertising — is every bit as futuristic as you might imagine. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    NYC Gets 'Ultrafast’ Public Wi-Fi

    Phone booth, meet your great-great-grandchildren.

    Futuristic, 3-meter-tall Wi-Fi portals are steadily moving into New York, replacing thousands of old payphones while using their existing infrastructure. By summer’s end, more than 500 units will dot the city; in 12 years, there will be as many as 10,000.

    The selling points are simple: They are free to use — featuring hotspot 2.0 encryption technology (i.e., a more secure connection) and thereby providing gigabit-speed Internet to the city’s 8.5 million residents. That’s roughly 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi and five times faster than the capability of most smartphones.

    The Wi-Fi portals are free to use — featuring hotspot 2.0 encryption technology and thereby providing gigabit-speed Internet to the city’s 8.5 million residents. (Credit: CityBridge)
    The Wi-Fi portals are free to use — featuring hotspot 2.0 encryption technology and thereby providing gigabit-speed Internet to the city’s 8.5 million residents. (Credit: CityBridge)

    “It means you can upload pictures in a fraction of a second, you can download a movie before you hop on the train in less than 30 seconds, you can have the content that you want downloaded to your phone and be able to use that on your journey throughout the day in the city,” said Jen Hensley, general manager of LinkNYC, the communications network tasked with bringing the units to the city’s sidewalks.

    The Links, which have already launched in beta phase, each feature two flashy 140-centimeter HD digital screens for public service announcements and advertising, LinkNYC’s primary source of revenue.

    Bridging the technology divide

    The high-speed Wi-Fi reaches a minimum radius of 45 meters before automatically connecting to the next available Link. Every unit is equipped with a charging device and Android tablet for Internet browsing, phone calls and easy access to information on city services, as well as a 911 emergency call button.

    Hensley said the idea is to reach all New Yorkers who might not otherwise have access to a broadband connection, either in their homes or at work.

    “We look forward to being able to provide the opportunity for educational, professional and recreational access that really every human deserves in this day and age,” Hensley said.

    The unit’s infrastructure is built using a cast aluminum exterior, designed by CIVIQ Smartscapes to withstand vandalism and severe weather, including flooding, earthquakes, extreme heat and cold.  

    Joshua Berglund, engineering program manager at CIVIQ Smartscapes, said its designers have extensive experience in military application manufacturing, which was useful in developing LinkNYC’s “rugged” structure.

    The high-speed Wi-Fi reaches a minimum radius of 45 meters before automatically connecting to the next available Link. (Credit: CityBridge)
    The high-speed Wi-Fi reaches a minimum radius of 45 meters before automatically connecting to the next available Link. (Credit: CityBridge)

    He said the key structural feature of New York’s Links is their ability to blend in with their surroundings, representing “a natural progression of the city.”

    “It stands out on its own, but it doesn’t really jump out at you and stand out too much from the rest of the streetscape,” Berglund said.

    Global model

    LinkNYC expects CityBridge, the consortium awarded the 12-year franchise, to generate more than $500 million for the city of New York over the span of its contract, while regaining its capital investment worth $200 million.

    It’s a venture that Hensley describes as a “revolutionary” model for cities worldwide who want to deliver quality services to their residents and visitors.

    “It's a global economy," she said. "People are traveling more and more, and the services that they know they can rely on in New York, we expect them to want when they go to places like London and Paris and Hong Kong.”

    In addition to its current features, LinkNYC plans to roll out additional apps and services over the next few months. The company expects to install 4,500 Links within the first four years, across all five New York boroughs.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: rob
    February 03, 2016 9:11 PM
    Along with camera and facial recognition software built right in for your benefit

    by: Hotspot
    February 02, 2016 11:26 PM
    "Hotspot 2.0 encryption technology"

    That doesn't actually mean anything.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora