Imagine a city that’s one giant WiFi hotspot. Great right? Now imagine that it’s free as well.
Google has unveiled a plan to roll out free WiFi to everyone in New York by converting over 10,000 phone booths into portable hotspots
The search giant set up a company called Sidewalk Labs with the simple aim of finding a cost-effective method of creating a city-wide WiFi network that would be progressive while also using existing infrastructure.
Well if there’s one piece of existing infrastructure that needed updating it was the humble phone booth. Having been previously relegated to the past Sidewalk’s plan is to replace the phone booths with high-tech information kiosks.
Working together with another company called LinkNYC, the plan is to rollout these high-tech booths which provide touchscreen access to city information as well as free WiFi.
Rather than simply being a pipe dream, the combined companies (now known as Intersection) will actually start switching the service on in New York in September.
Sidewalk Labs isn’t the only initiative that Google has to bring free WiFi to the masses. Project Loon is a bold plan to cover entire countries in WiFi coverage using high-altitude balloons.
The balloons are cheap to produce and easy to control. Once launched they can circulate for months using air currents before finally landed and being replaced.