A chat with the folks bringing free gigabit WiFi to NYC

Who needs payphones when you've got wireless hubs with free, ultra-fast internet access?

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We've been charting the progress of LinkNYC for the past year -- from a mere concept to a legitimate replacement for New York City's payphones. Now as LinkNYC has begun installing its gigabit-speed wireless hotspots, I sat down with Colin O'Donnell and Dave Etherington of Intersection, the company behind the project, to discuss their progress so far. On top of providing free internet, the kiosks will also offer smartphone charging, free voice calls, and local information. Of course, it's all ad-supported.

It's always been an intriguing concept, but LinkNYC is now coming into focus as a potentially groundbreaking upgrade for all New Yorkers. Its blistering fast gigabit speeds is significantly faster than any commercial ISPs (even Verizon FiOS), and LinkNYC isn't planning to limit users in any way. In fact, as O'Donnell and Etherington tell us, they wouldn't mind it if the service actually replaced people's home internet provider.

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