Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Wireless Networking Communications The Internet

NYC To Replace Most of Its Payphones With Free Gigabit WiFi In 2015 106

mrspoonsi writes: New York City announced today it has picked the companies that will deliver the technology behind its deployment of free, gigabit Wi-Fi to pay phone stations throughout the city. The LinkNYC stations will also include charging outlets, touchscreen displays that interface with city services, and free U.S. calling. It will be funded through advertising. Construction will begin in 2015, and officials expect up to 10,000 stations to be installed before it's done.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

NYC To Replace Most of Its Payphones With Free Gigabit WiFi In 2015

Comments Filter:
  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @08:25PM (#48407583)

    NYC is taking away their data overages money

  • by Crashmarik ( 635988 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @08:27PM (#48407591)

    I haven't seen a payphone on the streets in years.
    The last time I saw one was in Penn Station

  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @08:29PM (#48407599) Homepage

    What exactly is gigabit wifi and what devices support it?

    • Google is your friend: []

      • Google is your friend: []

        And the second part of ArchieBunker's question: what devices support it? No smartphone does anything close to a gig. Google is your friend too.

        • by seinman ( 463076 )
          The iPhone 6 and 6+ support 802.11ac. Now, whether or not they can max out that speed is another story, but they do support the standard. I don't think the point is that any one device would use gigabit speeds, but if the router and backhaul do, then you could have 10 phones each sharing it and still getting 100 mbps each, minus overhead of course.
          • 802.11ac does not mean "1 Gb/s". Clients are only required to receive 1 spatial stream. This is the case with every smartphone I know of, including the iPhone 6, which does a theoretical 433 Mb/s.
  • please paint at least one like a Dr. Who Police Call Box

  • My guess? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mariox19 ( 632969 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @08:39PM (#48407649)

    They're doing it to spy on people.

    • by RussR42 ( 779993 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @08:44PM (#48407677)
      Sorry, it's actually an elaborate plot by Lex Luthor to delay Superman with internet cat videos every time he goes to change.
      • Eh, people tracking isn't "evil" but as far as I know the iPhone 6 sends out fake MAC addresses anyway so it'll fail unless you're connected.

    • That's a feature, not a bug. Oh wait.

  • Municipal WiFi (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sheddd ( 592499 ) <jmeadlock.perdidobeachresort@com> on Monday November 17, 2014 @08:40PM (#48407651)
    Can be a lot cheaper than other ways of spying; Associate a person with wireless MAC's or shudder their Facebook account and you've got NSA class intel, and better location data.
    • First, the MAC is nothing fixed (unlike IMEI which is pretty much fixed by closed-down driver software), and second, WiFi APs are far more cheaper in buying and getting a license to send than 3G or LTE masts. The only solution for our internet needs is a dense mesh of APs, whether its WiFi or LTE. But as I've said, WiFi is cheaper and far more open than mobile connections.

      "NSA class intel" is not exactly the case: if people use end-to-end encryption, the WiFi owner only sees which website I visit, but not w

      • by sheddd ( 592499 )
        You make good points... Encryption hopefully works as I've implemented for me :) I went to a wifi radio mfg event for resellers recently and some of the resellers were really concerned that Apple's MAC randomization (which doesn't really work yet) was going to hurt their location tracking abilities... It's not terribly hard to figure out I surf with a device with a certain mac address... and many of these muni wifi systems require you to login... directly, thru google, thru Facebook, etc before you get ac
        • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @09:39PM (#48407963)

          Yes, I also hate "free" WiFi where you have to login first, or install some stupid app. It should just simply work without all that.

        • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

          I love free WiFi but I'm cynical, and I think some muni's are doing bad things; I wouldn't be surprised if some are doing automated MITM attacks.

          I'm wondering (Can /. tell me?) whether some bad actor can just set up a hotspot with the same SSID as the NYC pylons and MITM any unencrypted traffic for anyone who walks by who has their devices set up to connect to that SSID.

    • If you're using SSL, then the only thing that can be ascertained is which sites you visited, but not what you did on those sites or even what pages you viewed. I would advise being careful about any private information over the Internet without SSL anyway. If that's not satisfying, set up a VPN tunnel back to your home Internet connection, or pay for a VPN service, and then they can snoop all day and only know that you had an encrypted channel to some VPN endpoint. VPN is a good idea whenever using a pub

      • VPN is a good idea whenever using a public Internet service, since not all sites are encrypted and you don't really know who you're connecting to.

        And you know your VPN better? You know and trust every of the stations appearing on the traceroute list when run on your VPN-ed network interface?

        • Well I meant something specific there, in that there are hacking schemes that consist of setting up public wifi specifically to capture unencrypted traffic. Just for example, if your local coffeeshop has a wifi network called "Coffee WiFi", then I can basically go sit in the coffeeshop with a mobile hotspot and my wifi and create a network with the same name. If I really want to be thorough, I might be able to locate their wireless device and pull the plug, and set the password on my network to be the sam

          • Getting access to the wire should be only the first step of a successful MITM, but yes the WiFi attack is the easiest if you know your target.

        • Ideally one would use solidly authenticated end to end encryption for everything but that just isn't practical. The best you get is weakly authenticated encryption (ssl/tls) and often you don't even get that.

          Given the choice of trusting a typical free wifi deployment (e.g. a radio link that is either totally unencrypted or encrypted with a password that is likely known to any attacker who puts in a moderate ammound of effort) and trusting an established fixed line IP or hosting provider I would consider the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm willing to bet that "throughout the city" as usual means "Manhattan south of 125th street. Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island don't even have subway stops wired yet.

  • So you have enough money for a wifi enabled device likely a cellphone at least, congrats here's your free wifi. If you happen to be somewhere without a cellphone or say a tourist who's phone doesn't work there sorry no handy phones around anymore sure hope you know enough to get skype or something on that bad boy should you need to call anyone. Tech is cool but there is still a lot of people out there that are clueless. My parents for example can't even figure out how to shutoff a computer or figure out wha

    • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @09:14PM (#48407851)

      Didn't you get the memo, subsidized phone service for the poor started under Reagon, was expanded under Clinton, and under George W. Bush came to include cell/wireless. google "lifeline" program

      • Everybody in Cleveland has one.

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        What difference does it make if a low income family saves $10 on POTS or $10 on a cell phone? It's not like that $10 is getting them an unlimited data plan and a top of the line phone.

        • 1. top of the line phone?, who needs one? not me. your question makes no sense. irrelevant.
          2. I pay $20 a month to provider with rule that I use free wifi when available for cell calls (they have servers to tie to that) and internet access, it goes to tmobile otherwise. been using them for over a year. $10 would be half of that, assuming your $10 a month a valid number

      • by Shatrat ( 855151 )

        Or the Connect America Fund, which subsidizes rural telecom buildouts. Rural areas being predominately poor and expensive to reach.

    • I'm not blaming you for not RTFA, but if you did you would find that you actually still can make phone calls with those stations. However, you won't have a handset anymore. Making phone calls will be free.

      • Huh. "Article" more like an ad. Not really clear what "free phone calls mean". I guess we can assume they'll have some sort of voip setup. I was thinking the assumption was that free wifi=free phone calls because everyone has a smartphone with skype installed right? I wonder how many people will use this to replace long distance for when you need to call a land line/cell phone without the hassle of coordinating a Skype call.

    • You didn't even read the *summary*, did you? The boxes will support free calls to anywhere in the US.
      • still it can be through an app you have to install.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If that was the case then why mention it?

          If it was through an app then that's already covered by wifi.

          You're an idiot.

    • by denzacar ( 181829 ) on Monday November 17, 2014 @09:22PM (#48407887) Journal []

      Key Features

      24/7 free Internet access with up to gigabit speeds
      Integrated lighting
      Digital displays to provide insight-driven and intelligently programmed advertising & public service announcements
      Android tablet with touch screen display, directional speaker & microphone
      Tactile keypad & Braille lettering, dedicated 911 button, USB charger, headphone jack

      Iconic and durable aluminum construction designed and built in NYC
      Sleek design and decreased footprint to restore sidewalk space and improve visual continuity

      • This actually seems pretty nice, especially if you're out-and-about and your cell phone dies (or if you don't have one, for whatever reason). I know I take my cell phone for granted, and it's scary how useless I can become if I don't have access to the Internet.

        It does make me wonder, though, who is providing this gigabit Ethernet? It's a bit shocking how crappy the Internet in NYC can be, and I've seen businesses that are still stuck on DSL because they can't get FIOS, cable, or anything better than DSL

        • by jbolden ( 176878 )

          In NYC I can get far better than DSL anywhere for well below $1000 / mo. If those business are willing to send me a list of locations and don't want to play games I'd be happy to fix that.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      I guess you did not hear about the VOIP phones they are going to put in those kiosks that offer free calling....

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      There are low cost phone shops all over New York city. They have a nice mixture of 1st world culture with premium prepaid shops and 3rd world culture with cheap phones being sold out of dedicated stores. For $40 you can get a phone.

  • I don't know, im getting really tired of paying bloated prices because every business uses product makers to fund everything under the sun. I wonder how much money we would save if there product makers cut there advertising budgets by 3/4. Plus, why would I need to use Wi-Fi when I have coverage that I already pay for? What % of a cars price is for the advertising budgets?
  • Why does corporate pimping continue to be the dominant paradigm for creating private funding revenue for free public services? And why does it continue to work so effectively? I am convinced that nearly anything that is advertised to me is shit I don't need, for prices too high, with money I don't have. Perhaps that's the catch: If you have the money you'll happily spend it on overpriced crap you don't need, because with wads of cash you don't need anything. Including Free Wi-Fi. Ah the conundrum of c
    • Because after 60+ years of cold war fear-mongering Americans are terrified of public works. Google "FEMA Camps" and see how many links are dead serious... :(
      • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

        You do understand that only a tiny percentage of people believe the FEMA Camps type sites.
        That is a real problem with the internet. It is impossible to find any idea so crazy that no one will embrace it as truth.

  • ... Superman?

  • Payphones were the only option to get out for MANY people. No internet, no power, no home phone service. Yet, payphones still worked fine.
  • NYC has a city income tax. They have property taxes. I think it is one of the most heavily taxed places in the United States.

    This. Is. Not. Free.

  • YES, THEY WILL LOG EVERY SINGLE PHONE THAT PINGS THE WIFI, CITY WIDE Fuck New York. It's so over. One you have a shit for brains tourist like Taylor $wift singing for your city your are FUCKED
  • Or just use Freephoneline. The point is to break the monopolies. I do review Chinese phones and can offer an excellent deal on great hardware if you purchase through me. And yes it will work forever with no bill, been using it for about 11 years now.
  • Get Verizon to just give them the pay phone booths? If we had such a thing in Providence I could get out public WiFi net up and running - because many phone booths had power too. Now you're lucky if you can find a pay phone at all in this city.
  • Cell phones will be replaced with WiFi.
  • This will be the real test.

    Modify or examine packets?
    Block ports?
    Throttle based on destination, content, protocol or port?
    Gather metadata or otherwise log?
    Provide data to 3-letter agencies without warrant?

  • Reminds me of free wifi by Google in Mountain View, slower than dialup. But I occasionally use it to test Ubiquiti long haul products.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman