BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Ever since last year’s announcement that New York phone booths will be turned into LinkNYC access points, people have been waiting impatiently for the city to start working on it. And they finally did, barely missing the deadline; the first free public Wi-Fi hub was installed in NYC.
Some quick facts shared by those behind the installation of the hot spots were that CityBridge will be handling the installation of the hubs, that the company has to install at least 7,500 units, that they have 12 years to finish the installation, and that they do have deadlines.
Also, the estimated income generated by ads over 12 years is around $500 million and at least two controversies emerged since the project’s announcement.
First announced in November 2014, the LinkNYC access points are meant to eventually replace all public phone booths around the city with free Wi-Fi hubs that also come equipped with USB charging ports, two 55-inch displays, touch-screen based internet browsing, and of course, ads.
When the announcement was first made, the company promised to start installation last year, and with just a few days left of 2015, they finally installed the first hub on the 28th.
The deadlines will have to be met under penalty, as CityBridge will have one year and 4 months to finish the installation of 510 access points, four years to install 4,500 of the hubs, and eventually 12 years for 7,500 units.
However, due to the high income that will be generated by the ads in the access points, the company will most likely install more than the minimum number of 7,500, as they are also getting a cut of the profits.
The controversies stirred by the installation are in regards to two completely different things.
The first one started when a news website reported that the access points in Bronx, Brooklyn, and other suburbs will be privy to internet speeds ten times as slow as those in downtown Manhattan.
The second controversy started when it was discovered that one of the companies originally involved with the installation of the hubs would be providing them with Bluetooth beacons, which would allow them to track pedestrians and force ads upon them.
Despite the fact that the first hub was already installed, and that the company will start working on installing others soon enough, citizens won’t be getting access to the free Wi-Fi very soon.
This is because it takes a minimum of two weeks to test the access points after they are installed, and the testing will have to be coordinated with other access points that aren’t yet installed.
Image source: Torange