Telephone booths may still have some life in them, as they begin their transformation into free Wireless hotpots with lightning-fast speeds.
The new Google-backed startup Sidewalk Labs, created to help improve cities through technological innovation, will be investing in the project which turns old payphones into Wi-Fi hotspots. New York City is the first locale to debut these refurbished telephone booths. The first four have recently launched, with plans to have 10,000 installed across the city over the next 12 years.
Following a network test using Ookla’s Speedtest app, the Wi-Fi hubs reached a speed of 436.36Mbps down and 360.55Mbps up. A speedtest was also conducted at a nearby Starbucks and reached a speed of only 7.59Mbps down and 1.60Mbps up.
With speeds around 20 times the network speed of the average household, each Wireless hub will be able to support up to 250 devices at one time and offer a connectivity range of approximately 150 feet. To gain access to the Wi-Fi hotspots, users will need to sign on using an email address.
In addition to Wi-Fi, the hubs will be equipped with USB ports for charging, an emergency button, an audio jack, a touchscreen computer for web browsing and free National calling for cell phone users, as well as city directions.
According to Google CEO Larry Page, the goal of this initiative is to begin the transition into smarter, more sustainable cities by developing technologies that will reduce the cost of living, make transportation more efficient and reduce energy usage.
The project is estimated to cost $200 million. The majority of the cost will be covered by advertising revenue, which is estimated to generate at least $500 million in gross revenue over the 12-year period.
New York City is said to be just the beginning for Sidewalk Labs. The concept is set to spread to other cities, with plans to update older infrastructure such as streetlights and bus stops, creating more dynamic cities that will work cohesively and be more responsive to the needs of its people.
We can’t wait to see where this innovation lands first in Canada! Check out our blog at Acanac for more great posts like this one!