Dave Etherington, chief strategy officer of Titan, part of the
CityBridge consortium in charge of the project, shows a map of current payphone locations and where
Links will be placed throughout the city.
Beyond free Internet access with up to gigabit speeds -- roughly 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi -- Links will provide free calls to anywhere in the US and rapid USB charging. They can also be used to call 911 for emergency services and 311 for non-emergency services.
CityBridge, the consortium of companies that is creating and managing LinkNYC, includes Titan, Control Group, Qualcomm and Comark. Hundreds of people across these companies are working on the creation and deployment of LinkNYC.
LinkNYC will require more than 500 miles of fiber optic cable to provide high-speed broadband throughout the five boroughs. That is enough cable to go from New York to Boston and back. People will be able to access the Wi-Fi within 150 feet of a Link and connect between Links after joining the network once.
This structure is a "brassboard" that stages and tests different hardware options. Dave Etherington demonstrates a version of Link's tablet interface, which will provide free calls, access to Internet and city services.
Links are designed to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities recently awarded LinkNYC and CityBridge the Title IV Telecommunications Award, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.
Don’t worry, the payphones aren’t vanishing all at once. The entire LinkNYC rollout will take four years, and payphones will remain in New York until it is complete. Also, three payphones will remain on the Upper West Side to pay homage to Superman!
To understand how New Yorkers in all five boroughs will eventually experience Link, the LinkNYC team held focus groups throughout the city to determine people’s behaviors and motivations for using Link and to gauge their reactions with different kinds of early prototypes. For example, how do people think about making a phone call? How do you communicate through video chat?