Hey, New York, can we get your Wi-Fi password?
The city has plans to build the world's largest free Wi-Fi network, so now you can watch Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" music video (what?) in all its glory, anytime, anywhere (and it'll load quickly!!).
According to the New York Times, Mayor de Blasio is taking the first measures in his plan to provide universal Wi-Fi access, by commissioning the CityBridge consortium (including Qualcomm and Titan) for a project called LinkNYC, which will begin next year. LinkNYC will create thousands of WiFi hotspots across the city, in the form of digital kiosks. The project is a major component of the Mayor's focus on inequality, as it seeks to give low-income residents the opportunity to use the Internet, without the cost. "It’s going to help us close the digital divide," Maya Wiley, the Mayor's counsel, said at City Hall on Monday. Ms. Wiley also said, quite accurately: "In my legal opinion... this is the coolest thing ever."
The kiosks will provide access to the Internet, free domestic phone calls, a charging station, and access to city services and directions. And according to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, the network (which will cost $200 million to build) will be 100 times as fast as most municipal Wi-Fi connections, and over 20 times as fast as your home Internet connection. Meaning, yes, going out onto the sidewalk to download and watch something may make more sense than watching it in your own home.
But where will these kiosks be? They'll replace phone booths, which, although a bygone New York institution, are a New York institution nonetheless. As innovative and beneficial as free Wi-Fi is, we're going to assume these new kiosks won't be covered in graffiti, urine, and loose change, and there's something a little bittersweet about that.
The Mayor's office has not yet released what the network name and password are going to be, but we're pretty sure it'll be De_BlazeNYC, pw: #deblasiosnewyork.
Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.
Lucy Meilus is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist and thinks the charging stations are going to transform her life (smell ya later, 15% battery!). Follow her on Twitter to read things she posts when her phone isn't dead.