This is 2014, and the thought of having no access to WiFi at home is a blogger’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, there are still an estimated 2.5 million people in New York City who’ve yet to experience the wonderful sorcery that is seeing that little triangle at the top of the screen fully connected and ready to stream episode after episode of Breaking Bad. Well it’s looking to be a very happy holiday for those who can’t afford at-home WiFi, because according to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Public Library is rolling out a program offering portable wireless Internet hubs to the masses, free of charge later this month.
The program is serving up 10,000 WiFi hotspots between three boroughs’ library systems: Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. This comes as part of a larger initiative to bring WiFi to the five boroughs. Last month the city announced it’s going to be upgrading 6,000 city pay phones into wireless hotspots. It’s official – we live in the future.
Devices will be available in Brooklyn to either anyone who attends a Brooklyn Public Library program, such as ESOL, adult education, or citizenship prep. A library representative also told us that if you live near any of the branches most impacted by the city’s “digital divide,” which are Brownsville, Bushwick, DeKalb, Macon, Marcy, Saratoga, Stone Avenue and Washington Irving you can take out a hub after attending a workshop on how to use the device. Each hub can be checked out for a year at a time, and you must self-identify that you don’t have access to working internet at home, honor-system style.
It’s important to note that this program wasn’t put in place for your cheapskate friend who makes $50k a year but still leeches off his neighbor’s spotty, unprotected network to save a couple bucks a month. This initiative gives access to free at-home internet for people that truly cannot afford it, so please don’t be THAT asshole.