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Free NYC Wi-Fi Hotspots Come Online

By Jack D'Isidoro | February 19, 2016 2:03pm | Updated on February 21, 2016 8:58pm
 The 10-foot tall LinkNYC kiosks provide free high-speed Wi-Fi.
The 10-foot tall LinkNYC kiosks provide free high-speed Wi-Fi.
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NYC Dept. of Information Technology & Telecommunications

MANHATTAN — After months of anticipation, the city’s network of free Wi-Fi hotspots officially went live for the first time Thursday.

Fifteen stations, part of the city’s LinkNYC program, are in operation along Third Avenue, from 14th Street to 45th Street. There are 25 additional stations that have been installed, but have yet to be powered on, according to the organization.

This follows a soft rollout by LinkNYC back in January, when only four stations with limited function were activated for beta testing.

The LinkNYC hubs, which are replacing many of the city’s pay phones, offer no-cost, ultra-speed Internet — 20 times higher than at-home speeds, officials said.

The kiosks also provide charging ports and built-in Android tablets, which can be used to browse the Web, look up directions, contact city services or make domestic calls within the United States for free.

Fifty-five-inch advertising screens attached to the kiosks, which are estimated to generate $500 million in revenue over the next 12 years, will cover the cost of the network, officials said.

The city plans to install 7,500 LinkNYC kiosks citywide by 2023, with 510 completed by July.