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Gigabit Cities

Gigabites: The Big Apple Gets Gig WiFi

Between the Monday holiday and Friday's East Coast snowstorm, the gigabit news was light this week. In today's edition, LinkNYC lights up gigabit WiFi in New York, a broadband fight brews in West Virginia and Lincoln, Neb., announces a new smart city initiative powered by gigabit service.

Photo courtesy of LinkNYC
Photo courtesy of LinkNYC

  • LinkNYC is live.

    The ambitious project, operated by a consortium of companies collectively known as CityBridge, aims to bring gigabit WiFi to the five boroughs of New York City using broadband kiosks that simultaneously act as WiFi hotspots, sources of information on city services and advertising billboards. On Tuesday, LinkNYC activated its first four beta kiosks, tweeting, "NYC, are you ready for free Wi-Fi?"

    The performance reviews for LinkNYC service have so far been glowing, although The Wall Street Journal noted that the network is now a tempting target for hackers, which means New Yorkers should take reasonable security precautions when connecting.

    Meanwhile, it's still an open question as to who is providing the fiber that's enabling LinkNYC service. Citybridge has so far been mum on that topic. (See Who's Feeding Fiber to LinkNYC Hotspots?)


  • Want to learn more about Gigabit Cities? Join us for Light Reading's second annual Gigabit Cities Live event taking place this year on April 5 in Charlotte, NC.


  • Cable companies in West Virginia are working hard to stop a new bill that would raise funds to build a state-owned fiber network in the region. Senator Chris Walters, who introduced the legislation, says he wants to bring broadband to rural communities without access, but local ISPs say a state-operated network would be in direct competition with their own broadband networks and local gigabit Internet projects. The fight isn't a new one. Plenty of municipalities around the country exploring their own broadband options are also running up against opposition and even legal barriers. (See Gigabites: 200 Gig Communities & Counting.)

  • The "Green Light Lincoln" initiative in Lincoln, Neb., has been (ahem) given the green light. The project will create a smart traffic system designed to improve traffic light efficiency, making travel times faster and local roads safer. The system is made possible in part because of an existing fiber network already installed by Allo throughout the city. Mayor Chris Beutler noted that "The fiber used to bring one gig service to our citizens will also be used to bring gigabit service to our new smart traffic signal systems."

    — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

  • KBode 2/1/2016 | 12:14:08 PM
    Re: gigabit I think one problem is the antennas provide strong lateral coverage, but not vertical coverage, so many people in apartment buildings will have trouble using it as their daily free ISP. Very promising overall though. 
    nasimson 1/30/2016 | 6:24:44 AM
    Re: gigabit @KBode: Why people living in local apartments would use this as their daily connection? The connection is cheap otherwise. And these GigWifi kiosks are not easy to use in all weather conditions, like snow or winter.
    KBode 1/26/2016 | 11:55:22 AM
    Re: gigabit Would also love to see what kind of QoS and filtering is enabled on these. Has to be all manner of protection in place to prevent people living in local apartments from using this as their daily connection?
    msilbey 1/26/2016 | 11:30:48 AM
    Re: gigabit Agreed it will be interesting to see what congestion does to these networks. There are a lot of people wandering around the 5 boroughs. On the vandalism front, I've wondered about that from the beginning too, but I guess it's no different than managing the issue on old telephone booths.
    KBode 1/26/2016 | 11:13:19 AM
    gigabit Early tests I've seen clock in at around 280 Mbps for the gigabit Wi-Fi though those speeds may be limited obviously by the hardware connecting to it. Still find it hard to believe these things will provide anything close to a gigabit once the full weighted load of an entire five borough populace is applied to it. Should be interesting to see how they handle capacity, security, and vandalism with these things...
    msilbey 1/26/2016 | 8:55:47 AM
    Re: Why keep it a secret? That's what I heard initially, but then last June when I asked about Transit Wireless I was told by the company "These details have not been finalized yet." Since then I've continued to check in with LinkNYC, but no one has been willing to elaborate. 
    Wireless80628 1/25/2016 | 3:02:28 PM
    Re: Why keep it a secret? Transit Wireless is providing the fiber.  They are also responsible for running the neutral-host DAS in the NYC Subway.
    Ariella 1/25/2016 | 1:36:28 PM
    Re: Why keep it a secret? I had the exact same reaction as @nasimon.  I looked at the site for it: http://www.link.nyc/ and didn't discover any answer to that question. But it did raise some concerns about the fact that this works by getting users' email addresses. It has a privacy policy, but given where it's funding comes from, I have some doubts about that information not getting shared: 

    LinkNYC is completely free because it's funded through advertising. Its groundbreaking digital OOH advertising network not only provides brands with a rich, context-aware platform to reach New Yorkers and visitors, but will generate more than a half billion dollars in revenue for New York City.
    msilbey 1/23/2016 | 9:18:51 PM
    Re: Why keep it a secret? It's not clear. The implication was that the news would be a big deal when announced, but that was many, many months ago. Can't say I know what's happened since.
    nasimson 1/23/2016 | 6:41:29 AM
    Why keep it a secret? > Meanwhile, it's still an open question as to who is providing the fiber that's
    > enabling LinkNYC service. Citybridge has so far been mum on that topic.

    Why keep it a secret? Doesnt make much sense!

    Or am I missing something here?
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