Lonely Planet Writer

New York set to roll out free high-speed Wi-Fi service

The affliction of every traveller is trying to get Wi-Fi without turning your journey into a series of cafe pitstops for free wifi . But now one city is sorting that problem out for good. New York is set to roll out what will be the largest and fastest municipal Wi-Fi systems via a network of public kiosks.

New York is launching the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world
New York is launching the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world Image by LinkNYC on Facebook

The kiosks are an initiative by LinkNYC (part-owned by Google) which will be launching 7500 free-to-use hotspots over the city, which will have speeds 20 times faster than the typical broadband speed in the city, with one gigabit per second.

The ‘Link kiosks’ will also have a phone, an android screen, and two 55 inch digital screens that are to be used for the advertisments with which the project will fund itself.

New York
New York Image by Erik Drost / CC BY 2.0

According to the Financial Times, the project is part of a broader effort by Google to reshape the US telecoms market, and comes after the company built a superfast fibre network in several cities, including Kansas and Austin. The high-speed Wi-Fi is for people crossing New York and in need of strong Wi-Fi, but there’s a doubt whether or not they will steal business from other wireless providers like Verizon and AT&T, since people living near enough to the kiosks can benefit from not having to pay for Wi-Fi anymore.