Mayor de Blasio Announces Public Launch of LinkNYC Program

Mayor de Blasio Announces Public Launch of LinkNYC Program

LinkNYC Adds to City’s Efforts to Bridge Digital Divide, More Than 7,500 Kiosks Coming to All Five Boroughs

NEW YORK, NY — Mayor de Blasio held a press conference today to announce the public launch of LinkNYC. The Mayor was joined by Maya Wiley, Counsel to the Mayor; Anne Roest, DoITT Commissioner and representatives from CityBridge. The LinkNYC program will transform the City’s old payphones into Wi-Fi kiosks, creating the world’s largest and fastest free public Wi-Fi network. At least at 7,500 Links will be installed across the five boroughs. LinkNYC will provide New Yorkers with incredibly fast, secure and private Wi-Fi network with a 150-foot radius, free domestic calling, two USB charging ports, a tablet for accessing the internet, and a red 911 button to contact emergency services.

“Today marks a significant step forward in this administration’s efforts to bridge the digital divide. With the approval of our LinkNYC proposal to expand free, high-speed Internet access to New Yorkers across the five boroughs, we will not only transform outdated payphone infrastructure into cutting-edge Wi-Fi hotspots, but dramatically increase fast broadband reach in more neighborhoods citywide. From bringing new local jobs and a guaranteed revenue of $500 million over the next 12 years, to providing free domestic calling—all at zero cost to taxpayers—LinkNYC will be a game-changer for our city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I commend our CityBridge partners and colleagues in government, including our five borough presidents and comptroller, for offering constructive feedback from their communities and helping advance our ambitious plan. Every New Yorker stands to gain from this historic result that will make New York City a global leader in free wireless access at superfast speeds.”

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Following today’s launch, Links will be installed and activated on a rolling basis, with over 500 kiosks in all five boroughs by the end of July, and over 4,500 by mid-2019. The network is currently in beta with approximately 30 Links installed along Third Avenue between 14th Street and 51st Street. Up to 10,000 additional LinkNYC units should be rolled out across all five boroughs by 2019.

Link deployment will follow the installation of high-speed fiber optic cables along “corridors” through the city. Users will be able to stay connected with super fast Wi-Fi, even as they move through the five boroughs. The Administration worked closely with the Borough Presidents to determine a guaranteed number of Links in each borough, as outlined in the franchise agreement with CityBridge, to ensure this project would reach neighborhoods across the five boroughs. Some of the first areas to see Links by July include St. George, Staten Island; Jamaica, Queens; South Bronx; and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.

In November 2014, following a competitive bid process, the de Blasio Administration announced the selection of CityBridge, a consortium of companies that includes Intersection, Qualcomm, and CIVIQ Smartscapes, to develop and operate LinkNYC network, bringing the world’s fastest municipal Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers and visitors. The five-borough network is funded entirely through advertising revenues, will be built at no-cost to taxpayers, create new local jobs and generate more than $500 million in revenue for the City. LinkNYC will be the largest digital out-of-home (DOOH) ad network in the United States when it is completed in 2019.

LinkNYC will offer an encrypted network for HotSpot 2.0-enabled devices, making it the first encrypted public Wi-Fi network of this scale to add a critical layer of protection to personal data. The de Blasio Administration and CityBridge have also created a customer-first privacy policy that ensures personal information is never shared or sold for third party use. Each Link will have at least 24 hours of back-up battery power to enable 911 calling capability in the event of the loss of commercial power.

“Today New York becomes the second largest tech sector city with the fastest free Wi-Fi in the world,” said Counsel to the Mayor Maya Wiley. “And today is the day we take a bite out of the broadband bill for New Yorkers, at no cost to the taxpayers. With this hotspot, this city takes an important step toward a fairer distribution of broadband service. We know that low income New Yorkers, particularly African American and Latino residents, rely on their smartphones to get online. And now New Yorkers can reduce some of that broadband bill, no matter their zip code, at no cost to taxpayers, as LinkNYC kiosks begin to roll out over the city and eventually to all five boroughs. LinkNYC will simply make New York a fairer 21st Century City.”

“As cities everywhere look for ways to reimagine infrastructure and create more responsive services, LinkNYC sets a new global standard by providing valuable public utilities at no cost to New Yorkers while generating new revenue for our City through a groundbreaking advertising platform,” said Scott Goldsmith, President of Media at Intersection. “We applaud Mayor de Blasio and the entire administration for the vision and steadfast commitment to a new connected future across all five boroughs of New York City.”

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