free gigabit Wi-Fi coming to a phone booth close to you soon

free gigabit Wi-Fi coming to a phone booth close to you soon

LinkNYC has installed its first Wi-Fi hotspot, with the program to see residents of and visitors to New York City able to access gigabit-speed Wi-Fi for free through converted payphone booths.

Users can access the encrypted, secure Wi-Fi connection through smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smartwatches from up to 150 feet away from any Link.

The program, still in its beta phase, will see 7,500 Links installed across all five boroughs of the city. It also offers device charging, and will soon provide free phone calls as well as a touchscreen tablet for mobile browsing.

The Wi-Fi is free to use, with the installation also not costing taxpayers anything; instead, the company will make money through the two 55-inch digital displays for ads and public announcements installed at each Link. These displays are predicted to generate over $500 million both for the city of New York and for the company.

The company rolling out the Wi-Fi, called CityBridge, also has a “robust and forward-thinking privacy policy”, promising not to share or onsell any personal information collected through the network.

The privacy policy [PDF] outlines what information CityBridge and its parent company Titan Outdoor collects, which includes user names, passwords, and email addresses upon registration.

During use of the Wi-Fi, it also collects a user’s MAC address, IP address, browser type and version, time zone setting, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system and platform, device type, device identifiers, full URL clickstreams to websites the company provides, URL requests, destination IP addresses, configuration details, pages viewed or searched for, page response times, download errors, the length of a visit to “certain pages”, scrolling, clicks, mouse-overs, methods used to browse away from a page, location information, plus “other information necessary to provide access to the services”.

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