This month will see the first rollout of LinkNYC’s free Wi-Fi hotspots in New York City, which are set to replace nearly 7,500 neglected public telephones. Along with this experimental urban upgrade, New Yorkers can also expect to see another pay phone replacement idea: a “GuyFi” booth where men can “relieve stress” with a laptop and chair behind a privacy curtain. Last week, a s*x toy company called Hot Octopuss converted an unused phone booth at 28th Street and 5th Avenue into its GuyFi chamber of self-love by adding a black privacy curtain, a chair, and a laptop with high-speed Internet.
The company reported that at least 100 men used the booth on its opening day last week. Of course, public self service is illegal—and a rep from Hot Octopuss told Mashable, “We may be insinuating that these booths could be used in whichever way anyone would like to ‘self soothe,’ [but] the brand is not actively encouraging people to self service in public as that is an illegal offense.” No word on how fast the Internet connection was, or whether there would be any efforts to help women “self soothe” at a rate equal to men in the workplace.
Meanwhile, LinkNYC promises to soothe New Yorkers with broadband Internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second, delivered via hotspots perched atop 9.5-foot-tall monoliths covered in digital advertising. These structures will also include an Android tablet for people who want to use the Web or make phone calls.
LinkNYC will sink $200 million into ripping out the city’s pay phones and replacing them with its Wi-Fi monoliths. The effort is run by CityBridge, which The Wall Street Journal describes as “a joint venture between three tech companies: smartphone chip maker Qualcomm Inc., networking company CIVIQ Smartscapes, and Intersection, which has backing from Google parent company Alphabet Inc.” The hope is that LinkNYC will make money through advertising, foster more competition among wireless carriers, and even help bridge the digital divide for New Yorkers without high-speed Internet at home. No doubt a certain amount of “self soothing” will be involved for LinkNYC users as well.
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