New York City’s massive plan to offer free Wi-Fi all over town was switched on recently. Through its partnership with Vonage, the city has retrofitted the first of 7,500 old phone booths and remade them into Wi-Fi kiosks that run at what is advertised as gigabit speeds. The first speed tests run on the network have fallen considerably short of that lofty goal, reaching download speeds of around 280 Mbps, but again, it’s crowded in Manhattan, and the service is free.
The partnership, named LinkNYC, doesn’t seem worried about the initial slow results. “We are pretty confident the system will be able to handle the load, and we’re already prepared for future upgrades to make the system even faster,” a LinkNYC spokesperson noted via e-mail. “Right now, the device is the bottleneck on speed, and as devices improve, users will see greater and greater speeds as well.” The plan going forward is to activate 500 kiosks by July of this year, at a rate of 10 per day.