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WiFi for All: Welcome to the Next Generation of Cities


We know we’re not the only ones driven crazy by the lack of WiFi on buses or trains. What better way to pass the time than reading Bisnow?

Right now, two ambitious projects in the US’ biggest cities are bringing public WiFi to bus stops and old phone booths. In May, advertising giant JCDecaux and Outfront Media set up wired, smart bus stations near LA’s City Hall with free WiFi hotspots, transit information and USB ports for mobile devices.

"We're clearly moving from a physical to a digital world," Outfront/JCDecax co-managing director J. Francois Nion says. "Our bus stations provide a platform for digital services. It's a perfect marriage." He says he wants to expand to 15 more bus stops, eventually turning 1,800 into digital hubs.

In New York, Google-backed Sidewalk Labs is investing in the LinkNYC initiative consortium, which will convert old unused phone booths into WiFi hotspots and civic information centers (pictured). The NYC subway has 84 WiFi-powered stations and plans to provide Internet at every station by 2018.

Other cities with digital infrastructure include the Bay area, Washington, DC, Boston and Philadelphia, Meanwhile, Chicago officials say a cellular subway upgrade would make its transit system the "largest US public transit system with 4G coverage in all subway stations and tunnels." [Curbed]