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15 Wi-Fi Hotspot Kiosks Roll Out in Downtown Jamaica

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | October 13, 2016 6:09pm
 More than a dozen kiosks providing free Internet access and phone service, have just been installed along Jamaica Avenue.
More than a dozen kiosks providing free Internet access and phone service, have just been installed along Jamaica Avenue.
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Courtesy of Councilman Daneek Miller

JAMAICA — More than a dozen kiosks providing free Wi-Fi access and phone service, have just been installed along Jamaica Avenue, city officials said.

The 9.5-foot-tall machines, which also allow locals to charge their phones, have been placed between Sutphin Boulevard and 168th Street, according to a LinkNYC map

As of Thursday, 13 of them were already working. Two more will go live soon, according to the map.

"Been complaining bout free WiFi? Guess what we've heard you," local Councilman Daneek Miller posted on his Instagram account. "LinkNYC is ready and working on #TheAve."

The machines, which feature colorful screens displaying ads on both sides, replaced telephone booths and provide Wi-Fi access in a 150-foot radius.

Locals said they were excited that their neighborhood was included in the initiative.

“My phone just died so this is great,” said Darryll Simpson, 34, a Jamaica resident who was about to charge his phone at a kiosk at 153rd Street Wednesday night.

The neighborhood was initially slated to get its kiosks by July but the process got delayed due to “issues surrounding the deployment of new fiber” in the area, city officials said earlier this year.

In August, first five kiosks in Queens have been installed along Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.

The machines placed in Queens so far have been installed as part of the first phase of the initiative which is slated to include more than 500 kiosks throughout the city.

The machines have not been a welcome addition everywhere. In several neighborhoods in Manhattan locals complained that some users have been "abusing" the kiosks to watch porn and to gather around them to consume drugs and alcohol. The incidents prompted the mayor to announce that web browsing would be disabled on the machines.

But Jamaica officials said they believe the program will benefit the neighborhood.

"As this area continues to grow, I am confident [the initiative] will also ... help support small businesses and the cultural centers in the area," Miller added in an email.

Rhonda Binda, executive director of the Jamaica Center Business Improvement District, said she was convinced the program will help attract "business and real estate investment to this part of New York City." 

Over the next several years, CityBridge LLC, a company which operates LinkNYC kiosks, will install over 7,500 kiosks across the five boroughs, according to the company's website. 

In addition to kiosks in Queens, the company has so far installed hundreds of the booths in Manhattan and more than two dozens in The Bronx. There are currently no kiosks in Brooklyn and Staten Island.