The city of New York’s plans to phase out pay phones and replace them with high speed wifi hot spots is one step closer to a reality. The plans have been in place for quite some time now and finally this month it is getting underway. New York to convert phone booths into free wifi starting now and by July hope to boast more than 500 hot spots, with up to 7500 booths to eventually be replaced.
The city aims to rival the huge fees and slow speeds mobile carriers are charging their citizens at present. The plans include the wifi hotspot to sit on top of a 9.5 foot booth with screens all around displaying advertisements, this is to help fund it. In addition to this, there will be an Android tablet to be accessible for free phone calls and allow users to surf the web for free. The project, called LinkNYC, is a joint venture between three tech companies; Qualcomm, CIVIQ Smartscapes and Intersection. With over $200 million pledged already to the project, it is only a matter of time before they are all operational.
The proposed speed of the wifi will be in the region of 1000 megabytes a second, according to CityBridge, which will be around 100 times faster than the speeds in which mobile carriers boast. As for the users themselves, they will not have to sit through adverts or even log in, the devices will simply connect when in range. This plan will only show the rest of the world what is possible with the millions of unused phone booths, without the costly process of removing them.
This technological advancement will surely improve the lives of the citizens of New York, as it will mean less dependence on expensive phone contracts with data. But there are concerns with a free wifi service, in the way of security. Public wifi zones are unfortunately vulnerable to attacks and snooping, as an unsecured network can allow anyone to join. The same is in place, but on a much larger scale, with the advent of these wifi booths. Protecting yourself online will only become more important than ever.
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