A soft launch in January for New York City's LinkNYC high-speed gigabit hotspots were met with praise, as even while in beta mode, the hotspots registered speeds that are 10 times faster than the current public Internet speeds of the city.
The free high-speed Internet hotspot hubs are replacing public pay phones across the city, with each hub reaching out to a radius of 400 feet. The hotspot hubs also have USB outlets that citizens can use to charge their devices, built-in 911 emergency access, Skype call capabilities and city maps.
New York City is officially launching LinkNYC today, with more of the 10-foot-tall aluminum hotspot hubs established in addition to those put up for the soft launch. In addition, the hotspot hubs will now be featuring support for the LinkNYC tablet.
The LinkNYC tablets are Android tablets that are built into each hotspot hub. The tablets will allow citizens that do not have their own mobile device to access the Internet and city services, check for maps and directions, and even make calls for free through Vonage to anywhere in the country.
The tablets are not anything special, looking like generic tablet computers with a basic user interface. They have a headphone port though, which would grant users a bit more privacy if they would be using the tablet to make a phone call. More apps, services and features will be rolled out in the future to the LinkNYC tablets, which currently have no time limits for usage and no advertisements being displayed on the screens.
For added security and privacy, the tablets time out and delete its cookies after one minute with no activity. The tablets are also pretty tough, as they have been tested in both extremely cold and hot temperatures. Testing has also seen cars being crashed into the kiosks to see if the tablets will be able to withstand the damage.
With the launch, there are now 15 working LinkNYC hotspot hubs, all of which are located along Third Avenue in Manhattan. The goal of the project is to establish about 7,500 of the high-speed hotspot hubs across the five boroughs of New York City over the coming years.