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New York City   New life for 500 stations in the five boroughs

Old New York's phone booths to be communication hubs

LinkNYCThousands of old phone booths around New York are being transformed into ultrafast communication hubs.

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They have a Wi-Fi network, USB charging ports, a tablet for Web browsing and a 911 button for emergency services, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The LinkNYC program will be free for the public to use through a franchise agreement with a consortium of tech and media companies, he said at the official launch.

CityBridge, the for-profit group footing the bill for the installation and maintenance of what will be 7,500 kiosks within 7 and a half years, will own the program’s data.

About a dozen of the kiosks were up and running in beta mode in Manhattan as of Thursday. By July, 500 stations will be in areas around the five boroughs.

Free Internet can help a child doing homework or an adult on a job search, the mayor said.

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