Payphones might be useful after all.
Google announced that it would take over the existing plan to transform NYC payphones into wireless Internet hubs.
Sidewalk Labs, a new Google company, acquired Control Group and Titan, the lead companies behind the LinkNYC intiative to replace New York’s aging payphones with Wi-Fi hubs. The two groups were merged into a new company called Intersection. The plan called for 10,000 of these connection points called “links” to be installed.
“Intersection will help make cities connected places,” said Sidewalk Labs CEO Dan Doctoroff in a press release. “The possibilities are endless.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the initial plan headed by Control Group and Titan this past November. Along with providing free Wi-Fi, these stations were allegedly going to provide city information, free domestic calls and cell phone charging. Sidewalk Labs will allegedly continue to pursue these goals as well.
“We can't continue to have a digital divide that holds back so many of our citizens,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement. “We’re taking a critical step toward a more equal, open and connected city – for every New Yorker, in every borough.”
Sidewalk Labs stated that it would bring LinkNYC beyond New York and to cities around the world. This is the company’s first major plan to fulfill its goal of improving cities through technological innovations.