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Communications Wireless Networking

Good Riddance Payphones: NYC's Free Gigabit Wi-Fi Kiosks Go Live (networkworld.com) 84

alphadogg writes: New York City on Thursday officially launched its payphone booth replacements: shiny new 9-foot-plus-high kiosks, dubbed Links, that offer free Gigabit-speed Wi-Fi as well as free domestic VoIP calls via a tablet app. Mayor Bill de Blasio, joined by vendor partners such as Qualcomm and NYC Department of IT and Telecommunications reps, showed off the first operating LinkNYC kiosks, just over a dozen of which are spread across 3rd Avenue for starters. The spacing of the hotspots will enable users to stay connected as they walk down the street. More than 500 of the advertising-supported kiosks are slated to be installed by mid-year, with promises of secure and private connectivity.
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Good Riddance Payphones: NYC's Free Gigabit Wi-Fi Kiosks Go Live

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  • How exactly can someone like me, without a "device," use these to make a phone call? Like to 9-1-1 in an emergency?
    • by BlacKSacrificE ( 1089327 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @09:25AM (#51540797)
      From TFA.

      The kiosks, in addition to supporting encrypted Wi-Fi connectivity for hundreds of HotSpot 2.0-enabled devices within 150 feet of them, will each include two USB charging ports, a red 911 button to contact emergency services

      a red 911 button to contact emergency services

      Don't you think that just maybe a little detail like that might have been covered..?

      • by guises ( 2423402 )
        I didn't think that. You couldn't use the payphones for 911 calls (since the phones didn't work) so it's nice to see another useful feature.
        • by tsqr ( 808554 )

          I didn't think that. You couldn't use the payphones for 911 calls (since the phones didn't work) so it's nice to see another useful feature.

          Pay phones are remarkably rugged, yet a high percentage of them are always out of order. Makes you wonder how these kiosks will stand up to the abuse they will undoubtedly receive.

  • private (Score:5, Informative)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Friday February 19, 2016 @09:16AM (#51540761) Homepage Journal

    with promises of secure and private connectivity.

    For values of "private" where you have to register with an e-mail address and every connection you make is linked to this account, and every web page you browse to is logged.

  • Too "/. experienced" to RTFA, I'm assuming that tablets are provided at these Link spots with which to make those free domestic calls? The disappearance of payphones has seemed like a step backwards in progress, sure "most" people carry cell phones and even if you don't have one "usually" a good samaritan will step up and help, but (semi) reliable physical communication stations at fixed locations were a part of my childhood that decayed away over the decades.

    Providing free WiFi so that most people don't h

    • by D.McG. ( 3986101 )
      As more folks start using the WiFi hotspots near ground level, it should take considerable load off of the cell phone towers in the city.
  • I wonder how long the tablets will last...
    • Durability of the tablet isn't the only factor, durability of the whole tower could be problematic. This thing is tall and narrow so its going to need some serious anchoring and heavy duty materials at the base to prevent being damaged long-term. I mean, have you ever looked and how scuffed up and dented phone booths are? Those have flex and size to absorb the body blows. People are going to bang into these things, either accidentally or on purpose (teenagers) on a consistent basis.

      It looks nice, and th

      • Not to mention the inevitable issues with the USB ports - weather - vandalism - hacking with skimmers to steal data, trojans to inject malware etc
  • There are no doors - they are open to the outside. So where is Clark Kent going to do his thing?
  • Can't help but think that at some point these will be used mostly for police work. I'm guessing they won't hire Apple for encryption work, they'll want to know every single bit that passes thru these. Do they have cameras and "gunshot" detectors yet? I'm not compeltley paranoid, I do see the value in these, and more good than harm will come of them, but I feel like it's just the city getting us used to surveillance. At some point self charging drones will be stationed on top of everyone of these zooming aro
  • NYC can be very cold in winter, and trying to hear your correspondant in the street can be hard with the background noise.
    Too bad that most of the time they were busted, and/or full of vomit, piss and a loony...
    I fear the same thing will happen to these; they'll be smashed and graffitied to death in minutes

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

      "I fear the same thing will happen to these; they'll be smashed and graffitied to death in minutes"

      And pressing the red emergency button and running off will probably become a favourite pastime for the local kids.

    • I grew up in NYC in the 70s, and it seems like a completely different city today. Giuliani really cleaned up the place, and despite Bloomberg and DiBlasio's efforts to undo all of his good work, for the most part it seems to remain a much safer and cleaner version today that it was back then.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Free Internet anywhere in NYC?!?!? Provided by GOVERNMENT!??!!

    This is so evil I don't know where to begin! How dare government step in and do something that could be done by a private corporation were it only profitable enough to pay their CEO millions of dollars?

    • I was thinking in a slightly different way: Free Internet anywhere in NYC?!?!? Provided by GOVERNMENT!??!!

      Yes citizen your data is secure on the NSA's servers. Now we don't need Apple to decrypt jack MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      We win so there. signed: The government.

  • How the hell am I supposed to get out of The Matrix? Sounds like a conspiracy to me.
    And how the hell am I supposed to get new numbers from The Machine? Sounds like Samaritan at work.

  • Searching for IP address...please stand by.
  • Not so much on the streets, but they making a killing in prisons, I hear.

  • Most sockets/jacks are only rated for so many mating cycles. I can't imagine these things are going to last long with 100 people/day plugging into them. Even the most durable, industrial connectors are typically only good for 10,000 or so mating cycles, and some are as few as ~1,000 (like microUSB)

    I hope whomever designed this thing made the socket easily replaceable.

  • What will this do for 911call location issues ? Currently there are numerous issues with VOIP and 911, and AFAIK some solutions but none that provides the full functionality of standard phone calls as far as guiding emergency services to the location of the 911 call.

    https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/... [fcc.gov]

  • Perhaps I missed it, but I didn't see for sure who was paying for this.

    It appears to be a gift from a group of companies, with possibly some money from the city government. And advertising was expected to pay the operating costs -- but not the initial installation, and the development that preceded it.

    Did I miss that?

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