The city's free Wi-Fi hubs will be publicly launched this afternoon by Mayor Bill de Blasio near one of the recently installed kiosks along Third Avenue. LinkNYC, as the program is officially known, will see the conversion of several defunct pay phones into Wi-Fi hubs providing free internet and several other services. Four of the hubs went live last month, and according to a map on LinkNYC's website, a total of 15 are now operational along Third Avenue between East 14th Street all the way to up East 45th Street. Several others kiosks that are yet to go live have also been installed along that route.
By July this year, the city expects to install at least 510 kiosks throughout the five boroughs. When the four hubs went live last month they only had the free Wi-Fi capability. But with the public launch today, all the other functions of the kiosk will also go live.
Customers will be able to use a touchscreen, or a Link tablet as they are known, to make free phone calls to anywhere across the United States. They will also be able to look up directions, and find out about other city services. The kiosks also come with two free USB charging ports to charge devices.
Over the next eight years the city plans to install 7,500 such links throughout the city. Advertising displays on the kiosks will help generate $500 million for the city over the next 12 years.