All Those Old And Dirty NYC Pay Phones Will Soon Become WiFi Hotspots

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The remaining pay phones in New York will soon be replaced by thousands of WiFi kiosks with free Internet access.

The project, known as LinkNYC, will also offer free domestic calls, a charging station for mobile devices and Android-powered tablets providing directions and access to city services, the New York Times reports.

Calls to 911 and 311 will be free as well, and should there be a power outage (possibly due to an apocalyptic hurricane), backup batteries will allow 911 calls for another 24 hours.

The operation is estimated to cost over $200 million but is predicted to generate over $500 million in revenue throughout its first 12 years, Forbes reports. It will also create up to 150 full-time and 650 part-time jobs.

There won’t be any additional cost to taxpayers, as LinkNYC will be funded entirely through advertisements seen on the kiosk’s digital screens.

The first set of up to 10,000 kiosks, which will be 9.5 feet tall and less than a foot wide, will be available for use in all five boroughs by the end of next year.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio touted the kiosks as the “fastest and largest free municipal WiFi deployment in the world,” noting how they will be the primary Internet providers for many low-income residents.

That’s nothing to complain about as the WiFi will be 20 times faster than that of the average Manhattan home, capable of downloading a 2-hour movie in just 30 seconds and servicing 250 devices at once.

Devices can be as far as 150 feet from the kiosks to be connected.

There are currently about 8,400 pay phones in New York, according to the Times, but by the time all the kiosks are installed, just three will be left standing on the Upper West Side for historical significance.

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