Sunset Park gets free Wi-Fi with LinkNYC
City installs technology hubs along Fourth Ave.
The de Blasio administration has given a gift to Sunset Park in the form of free Wi-Fi. The neighborhood has become latest community in the city to welcome Wi-Fi stations on the sidewalks, thanks to the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, which recently had six technology hubs installed along a busy stretch of Fourth Avenue.
The Wi-Fi stations, which were installed under the de Blasio administration’s LinkNYC program, are located on Fourth Avenue between 24th Street and 37th Street.
And local residents wasted no time in using them. “It’s good to have it. I like the fact that you can use it for free,” Anita Santiago told the Brooklyn Eagle as she stood at a kiosk on Fourth Avenue and 33rd Street Thursday morning.
Five of the six technology hubs are fully operational. The sixth will be up and working soon, city officials said. And the six stations could be just a starting point. Jeremy Laufer, district manager of Community Board Seven, told the Bay Ridge Courier that neighborhood residents should expect to see more Wi-Fi stations in the future.
The technology hubs offer free Internet access, as well as free charging ports for devices pedestrians who want to stay connected.
Under the LinkNYC program, the city has installed 946 Wi-Fi kiosks around the five boroughs. The plan calls for another 6,000 to be installed to replace the city’s old, outdated payphones on sidewalks.
One of the best things about LinkNYC is that the services they provide are free, according to officials.
“LinkNYC is a first-of-its-kind communications network that will bring the fastest available free public Wi-Fi to millions of New Yorkers, small businesses, and visitors. Built at no cost to taxpayers, the five-borough LinkNYC network will, through advertising proceeds, generate more than $500 million in revenue for the city over the initiative’s first 12 years,” a statement on the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications website reads.
The city hired a company called CityBridge to install the technology portals.
“By replacing the aging network of public pay telephones with state-of-the-art links, CityBridge will transform the physical streetscape, enhance New Yorkers’ access to information and create new local jobs for the development, servicing and maintenance of the structures,” the statement reads.
But the debut of Wi-Fi stations Fourth Avenue isn’t the first time Sunset Park residents have seen a technology revolution.
In 2013, the forward-thinking Sunset Park Business Improvement District (BID) had wiring installed on Fifth Avenue to turn the shopping thoroughfare into a giant Wi-Fi hotspot.
The wiring was installed along a two-mile stretch of Fifth Avenue as part of a technology upgrade that was fully funded by the BID.
“It has so much potential. It will be great for the residents, of course. But it will also be great for our business owners,” BID Executive Director Renee Giordano told the Eagle during the installation process four years ago.
“There are a lot of stores now that don’t have internet access. With the free Wi-Fi, we can give them an email address and we will be able to send them updates,” Giordano said.
The Sunset Park BID represents property owners, merchants and residents on Fifth Avenue from 38th Street to 64th Street. There are more than 500 stores in the BID’s area.
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