- Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office
This is why New Yorkers can’t have nice things.
LinkNYC, the initiative to install super-fast wifi hubs in New York City, is suspending web browsing on all its tablets after 8 months due to inappropriate behavior, the company says.
Google parent company Alphabet funds LinkNYC through its spinoff Sidewalk Labs.
“… Some users have been monopolizing the Link tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from being able to use them while frustrating the residents and businesses around them,” the company writes in a statement.
DNAInfo previously reported that people were using the hubs to watch porn or listen to loud, explicit music.
LinkNYC says that it’s working with city officials to come up with potential solutions, like time limits, so that it can allow users to browse the web once more. In the meantime, people will still be able to use the tablets to make calls and look at maps.
Here’s the full statement from LinkNYC:
“Eight months ago, we launched a first-of-its-kind network to improve the quality of life in this great city where so many of us work and live. To date, we’ve seen lots of curiosity and excitement, and also some unexpected challenges that we need to address, as you’d expect with any project this bold.
With 400 Links installed in three boroughs, nearly 475,000 New Yorkers and visitors have signed up to use the fastest broadband publicly available in New York City and they have used it more than 21 million times. We’ve heard from New Yorkers who use the Links to save data on their mobile plans, call relatives across the country, and get a much-needed quick charge.
We also know that some users have been monopolizing the Link tablets and using them inappropriately, preventing others from being able to use them while frustrating the residents and businesses around them. The kiosks were never intended for anyone’s extended, personal use and we want to ensure that Links are accessible and a welcome addition to New York City neighborhoods.
Starting today, we are removing web browsing on all Link tablets while we work with the City and community to explore potential solutions, like time limits. Other tablet features-free phone calls, maps, device charging, and access to 311 and 911-will continue to work as they did before, and nothing is changing about LinkNYC’s superfast Wi-Fi. As planned, we will continue to improve the Link experience and add new features for people to enjoy while they’re on the go.
As New Yorkers ourselves, we want LinkNYC to provide the best possible experience for Link users and the communities around them. We designed the network to be flexible, so we can learn how people use LinkNYC, how they want to see it improved, and make adjustments over time. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing from the beginning. In response to community feedback and suggestions, we’ve dimmed the light on the kiosk displays and limited their maximum volume at night.
LinkNYC is a valuable public service for this city, already giving nearly half a million people access to the fastest Wi-Fi publicly available in NYC and providing tens of thousands of free phone calls, device charging, and directions every single week. And we’re just getting started. We will continue to learn and improve the LinkNYC experience for people who use it and also for the people who live and work near the kiosks.”