Despite being one of the most advanced cities in the world, New York City has an antiquated and broken communications infrastructure with approximately 7,500 payphones located throughout its five boroughs. The city recognized an opportunity to utilize this real estate to transform NYC into a smart city platform to provide services and bridge the digital divide by making Wi-Fi more accessible to its citizens. To turn this vision into a reality, the city awarded a contract to CityBridge – a consortium of leading experts in technology, advertising and user experience that includes Council member Qualcomm – to create LinkNYC.
LinkNYC will be the world’s largest and fastest free municipal Wi-Fi network, offering up to gigabit speeds and paid for by advertising. These structures, called Links, will not only provide wireless connectivity throughout the boroughs, they will also provide free national calls, rapid charging stations and access to city services. However, this is just the beginning – LinkNYC will also provide an open platform that businesses, academic institutions and municipalities can utilize to produce original content and apps that can spur a new generation of data-centric startups, or to tap into information to help steer public policy.
To ensure that it stays at the forefront, the LinkNYC network will support both hardware and software updates over time. Additionally, through advertising screens located on certain Links, the city will generate more than $500 million over the next 12 years. LinkNYC will usher in a new generation of technology and set the standard for connectivity in urban environments globally.