New York City’s 5G Gigabit Network Begins to Take Shape

A New York City payphone

A New York City payphone littleny /


Connecting state and local government leaders

Around 500 sidewalk kiosks will replace payphones by mid-summer, creating a network of high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots across the city.

New York City began replacing 7,500-plus payphones with “link connection points” this week to create a long-planned free-to-access, gigabit Wi-Fi network that Mayor Bill de Blasio promised in November 2014.

Construction of the five-borough, 5G LinkNYC network—part of de Blasio’s “One New York” push for high-speed broadband for everyone by 2025—was originally slated to get underway in early 2015.

But concerns over high-speed accessibility and push-advertisement beacon technology inside the links, since removed, stalled the installation process.

Links will generate more than $500 million in advertising revenue, according to City Hall, over 12 years—more than covering the network cost.

About 500 links will be installed throughout New York City by mid-July 2016, The Verge reported, with one to two weeks of testing needed before they go live.

Accessing the Wi-Fi hotspots can occur within 150 feet of a link, which also have USB ports for charging, a touchscreen tablet for browsing and two advertising displays.


Intersection, the company that designed the links, was launched by Google’s civic tech venture Sidewalk Labs.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor for Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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