CityBridge has successfully set up its first free public Wi-Fi hotspot in New York City, said a representative of the Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT). However, the newly-installed kiosk is not currently operational, as it is being tested as of now. The kiosk in Manhattan will have 2.0 signal strength and 150-foot range. It is likely to be in line with Google Fiber in terms of speed.
CityBridge, the contractor, has been being given 12 years to replace a minimum of 7,500 old pay phone booths with new Wi-Fi kiosks. The contractor has additional deadlines to meet. At least 510 access points must be established by the end of a year and 120 days. Furthermore, four years down the line, 4,500 hotspots must be operational. If the contractor fails to meet any of the deadlines, penalties will be imposed on it.
The contractor is likely to earn revenue of $500 million from advertisements on the screens of the kiosks during the coming 12 years. According to DoITT, the access points will be equipped with not only gigabit speeds, but also with free USB chargers, a touchscreen with internet access and free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S.
"We're expanding the infrastructure into communities that have not had enough (Wi-Fi) availability. It's a good incremental step. No, it's not everything, but we're going to get more," said Maya Wiley, Counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio.