We told you free Wi-Fi would be coming to New York City, and now it's actually here. Plus, it's actually fast. Like, faster than the 5 train at 3 p.m.
LinkNYC's wireless hot spots went live on Tuesday morning, and, according to Engadget, they're around ten times faster than the average American home internet connection.
Speeds do vary based on your distance from the LinkNYC hot spot and the device you're using, but still, they're able to connect New Yorkers to the internet with rocket speed. For free.
"It felt like I was staring at the future of urban internet access in my cold, gloved hand," said Devindra Hardawar, who connected to the internet at the LinkNYC hot spot at 15th Street and Third Avenue yesterday morning.
These kiosks are made from re-purposed pay phones which are more or less unused and still stand scattered throughout the city.
They feature gigabit fiber connections, USB charging, free voice calls, and a tablet for internet access, maps, and directions.
Basically, they're magical. At least, they'll probably help a lot of people find their way around the city, and rescue plenty of people whose cell phones are on the brink of death.
Signing on to the internet, Hardawar reported, was a cinch. You just join the "LinkNYC Free Wi-Fi" network, and plug your email address into the landing page to connect.
There is a Starbucks right in front of the LinkNYC kiosk, and Hardawar was able to connect to the LinkNYC's network on his MacBook in the Starbucks.
Yes, Starbucks already offers free Wi-Fi. However, plenty of coffee shops in the city don't. Also, LinkNYC's internet is faster.
Will this mean the end of paying cable services for internet providers for New Yorkers? We're going to go with maybe, but not yet. Hardawar did report that his internet connection slowed down while he was inside, but that it was still much faster than the average home internet plan.
LinkNYC representatives say they have no plans of preventing New Yorkers from using the free wireless service in their homes, though the more people connect to it, the slower the service will get.
linknycofficial We're live! You can test out LinkNYC's free Wi-Fi & phone charging at any of our 4 locations: 145 3rd Ave., 165 3rd Ave., 188 3rd Ave., 203 3rd Ave. While you're there, say hi to the #LinkNYC Street Team! #findalink #nyc #freewifi
Still, it'll definitely be amazing news for the millions of New Yorkers who can't afford to pay internet providers for internet in their homes. Especially when Time Warner Cable is looking to increase their rates after a recent merger with Charter Communications.
LinkNYC has also said they won't track any web traffic on its public or private networks. They might share redacted data with third-parties, but not anything personally identifiable.
There are less than a handful of kiosks live now; however, the city has promised to have 500 up and running by July.
By 2020, LinkNYC plans to have at least 4,450 kiosks in action. Looks like the internet is truly about to become for everyone, and life in NYC just keeps getting better and better.
Check out Time Warner Cable Will Increase Its Rates in New York After Merger.[via Engadget] [Feature Image Courtesy Instagram]