The thousands of sidewalk pay phones that still line New York City streets are headed for the scrap heap of history. Beginning this year, pay phones across the city are being replaced with sidewalk Wi-Fi kiosks that offer free and blazingly fast Internet access along with 911 calls and free USB charging stations. The LinkNYC project by CityBridge will replace more than 7,500 pay phones with kiosks that provide Wi-Fi at up to gigabit speeds, about 100 times faster than average public Wi-Fi. Like everything else on the Internet, it will be paid for by advertising—in this case, by ads running on the electronic screens on the side of the 9.5-foot tall columns.
New York’s effort is just the latest toward city-wide Wi-Fi networks. In Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, introduced its free Wickedly Fast Free Wi-Fi service downtown three years ago. Other companies have bigger plans. Google’s Project Loon seeks to use balloons floating 12 miles up in the stratosphere to deliver Internet access to remote areas around the world. Project Loon plans to test the service in Indonesia following trials in Brazil and New Zealand. The final frontier is getting its share of the Internet too. Satellite Internet provider ViaSat is launching another satellite to expand its high-powered broadband service. While ViaSat is relying on a small number of bigger, high-capacity satellites, competitor OneWeb plans to launch a “constellation” of 648 micro satellites to provide global coverage.
As you get ready to head off for adventure or relaxation on your summer vacations, you might want to look beyond the standby travel apps like Kayak, Tripit and Trip Advisor.
For people who can’t decide what to wear, PackPoint Packing List Travel Companion helps you figure out what to bring based on where you’re going and what you plan to do.
When you get there, City Maps 2Go ($5) provides offline travel maps along with tips to help you plan your trip, or try the AFAR Travel Guide. If you want to live like a local, Localeur provides insider tips on what people who live in your destination city think are the best places.
Just want to go somewhere, anywhere? GTFO—Get the Flight Out lets you book the best roundtrip flights leaving from your city that night or the next day. Going somewhere dodgy? The U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler provides frequently updated country information, travel alerts and warnings.