Update July 20, 2016 10:22AM: An earlier version reported that speeds would be slower in The Bronx and outer boroughs, however, a spokesperson reached out letting us know that all will have same, fast speeds.
Back in 2014, it was announced that old New York City payphones would be removed and in their place a super fast WiFi and charging kiosk would be installed at 7,500 former public phones.
The system has been slowly rolling out throughout Manhattan and now LinkNYC has arrived in The Bronx—and surprisingly enough—before Brooklyn (and Queens and Staten Island too!)
I spotted them a couple of weeks along the Concourse in the Fordham Road area but the one that was active was on 149th Street across from Hostos Community College at Walton Avenue (As of this moment, only the West Bronx has them).
The first thing I did when connecting to the free system was to test the speed since the Daily News reported that most of the kiosks in The Bronx would have the slower speeds thanks in part to the tale of two cities we’re still living in.
According to LinkNYC spokesperson, however, all LinkNYC systems will provide super fast WiFi access, not just Manhattan’s links so we’re happy that this digital divide is no longer the case.
The LinkNYC kiosk at 149th Street and Walton is definitely one of the faster ones with download speeds reaching 106 megabytes per second and upload speeds reaching 156 megabytes per second. To put it into perspective, that’s 4 times faster download speed with Optimum Internet and 35 times faster uploading speeds.
Using them as wireless WiFi hot-spots aren’t the only thing LinkNYC is good for. You can plug in your phone to charge in one of several USB “fast charging” ports where the company claims you can get 10% battery in just 1 minute (no, we didn’t get a chance to verify that).
If you’re out if juice and need to make a phone call you can simply plug in your headphones and voila, you can make free phone calls.
The kiosks also serve as an information booth where you can use it to look up city services and even push the red button to call 911 in case of an emergency.
In a perfect world, there would be enough kiosks to blanket the city and provide this free and needed service which pays for itself by advertising on the 55″ digital displays on either side of the LinkNYC system but alas the range isn’t all that far.
You can connect within 150 foot range although claims are made that 400 foot range is possible, our connection didn’t go beyond 100 feet before severely degrading and ultimately dropping.
Let us know if you’ve used it yet and what you think!