Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

New York Public Library Will Rent Wi-Fi Hotspots to People Who Need It Most

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

New York Public Library Will Rent Wi-Fi Hotspots to People Who Need It Most

Article excerpt

The New York Public Library, as well as the Queens Library and the Brooklyn Public Library, will begin renting out 10,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to residents later this month, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday. A press release provided to Ars by the New York Public library noted that the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries will rent out the hotspots for six months to a year to residents who don't have broadband and who are enrolled in library programs and adult learning programs. The Queens Library will lend the mobile hotspots from five of its libraries to anyone with a library card.

The hotspots will be provided by Sprint.

A New York Public Library spokesperson told Ars via email that people who borrow the hotspots will need "to sign an 'acceptable use agreement'" as required by Sprint. "It essentially states that the user will not do anything illegal with the Wi-Fi (such as illegally download movies)," the spokesperson said. In addition, renters of the hotspots will be afforded the same privacy protections they would have if they had purchased the hotspot themselves.

The announcement is yet another front in New York City's efforts to bring Internet access to all of its residents. Earlier this month, the city announced that it will roll out a new communications network called LinkNYC, which will turn old payphones into kiosks that offer "up to gigabit speeds." Those 10,000 kiosks will be funded by advertisements surrounding them and will offer free domestic calls as well.

Still, the LinkNYC plan has been criticized for falling short in serving all of the residents of New York City equitably, especially given that the kiosks will be placed far enough apart in many poorer neighborhoods that residents will see gaps in being able to connect. …

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