New York’s LinkNYC Hubs Deliver Sizzling 300Mbps Free Public Wi-Fi And More

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Late last month, we brought you news that New York City was in the process of installing the first of several thousand LinkNYC hubs that will eventually go up around the city. The LinkNYC hubs will replace the old and outdated phones booths that dot the cityscape and provide blazing fast encrypted 802.11ac Wi-Fi access (up to 100 times faster than traditional public Wi-Fi), two USB charging ports for juicing up your mobile devices (only power, no data delivery), and the ability to make free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S. via a partnership with Vonage. All of this is paid for via advertisements that are displayed on two 55-inch touch screen displays.

Manhattan residents will be happy to know that the first LinkNYC hubs went live this week, and the results so far have been more than impressive. A total of four (out of a planned 7,500) LinkNYC hubs opened for business yesterday along Third Avenue, between 15th and 19th streets. By the end of July, 510 LinkNYC hubs will be in operation across all five boroughs, barring any delays in the rollout.

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The fiber-backed LinkNYC hubs are delivering upload and download speeds in excess of 300Mbps to early adopters of the service. That’s faster than the highest broadband speeds available to most Americans and definitely outclasses any other free public Wi-Fi installations that we’ve seen in recent years. And each LinkNYC hub is capable of simultaneously supporting hundreds of users.

Early tests show that the LinkNYC hubs have a range of about 150 feet with significant drop-offs in speed occurring as you reach that limit. Connecting to a nearby hub from indoors also resulted in speed reductions, while still offering speeds faster than what’s possible with the average 30Mbps paid home Internet connections available from big name cable companies. This could be a big boon for apartment dweller that live close to LinkNYC hubs, and don’t want to shell out big bucks for Internet access — after all, it’s hard to argue with secure, fast and free.

According to the LinkNYC FAQ sheet [PDF], there will be 4,450 hubs installed within the next four years, with the remaining 3,000 coming online in subsequent years. When all of the LinkNYC hubs are operational, they will generation over half a billion in revenue for New York City.