Newark to Offer Link Smart City Program

  • Intersection
NEWARK, NJ — Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced his plans with Intersection, a smart cities technology and media company, to launch LinkNWK (pronounced Link Newark), a communications network of sidewalk kiosks that will provide residents and visitors of Newark with free gigabit Wi-Fi, mobile device charging, free phone calls to anywhere in the U.S., access to municipal services, maps and directions, and real-time local information on city streets at no cost to taxpayers or users. When LinkNWK is installed, Newark will join New York, London, and Philadelphia in deploying these cutting-edge kiosks. The program will run on Newark Fiber, the City’s public–private gigabit data network.

A Collaborative Effort
LinkNWK will be the result of a collaboration between The City of Newark, The Newark Community Economic Development Corporation (NCEDC), and New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to enable city residents to benefit from Newark Fiber, a program designed to bring affordable gigabit internet to the city. Newark Fiber, together with the city’s famed research universities, tech-savvy workforce, and proximity to New York City is making Newark a technology center and has resulted in Amazon choosing Newark as the host city of “Voice,” a three-day conference on artificial intelligence and natural language processing on NJIT’s campus.

“LinkNWK is only possible in Newark because of our incredible dark fiber and technology assets.” Said Mayor Ras J. Baraka. “What you’re seeing is another example of how Newark residents benefit from the City’s tech infrastructure and accelerating growth as a technology hub.”

Free Wi-Fi and Digital Services on City Streets

“With its growing tech community, renowned academic institutions, and key investments in municipal fiber, Newark is a perfect partner for the Link program.” said Ari Buchalter, CEO of Intersection. “As we’ve seen in New York City and London, providing free high-speed Wi-Fi, digital services, and engaging content on city streets enriches the experience of the city for residents, workers, and visitors. We are thrilled to welcome Newark to the growing network of Link cities looking to modernize and improve the urban experience.”

With LinkNWK, the plan is for an initial investment of 45 kiosks to be installed throughout Newark, encompassing areas around Newark Penn Station, the Prudential Center, and along Broad Street, Market Street, Martin Luther King Blvd., and Irvine Turner Blvd. Kiosks will also be installed on neighborhood corridors like Clinton Ave, Ferry St, South Orange Ave, and Bloomfield Ave. Kiosks will be placed in every one of Newark’s five wards.

Link Advertising to Generate Revenue for Newark
LinkNWK will be free to all residents and visitors because it is supported through advertising on the Link displays. In addition to covering the costs of building, installing, maintaining, and upgrading LinkNWK, advertising is expected to generate revenue for NCEDC and the City to help fund other smart infrastructure programs. NJIT will also partner with Intersection to help explore innovative use cases for the Links.

“NJIT has long been a catalyst for technological innovation. In addition to our significant research output, we house New Jersey’s oldest and largest technology business incubator as well as the New Jersey Innovation Institute (NJII)—a portal and platform for applying NJIT’s intellectual and technological resources to challenges identified by industry partners,” said Joel S. Bloom, President of NJIT. “NJII’s unique operating model has enabled us to foster mutually beneficial collaboration among traditional marketplace competitors, such as IBM, Panasonic, Juniper, Nokia, and others. The LinkNWK program; the VOICE Summit that we will be hosting July 24 through July 26, which is sponsored by Amazon Alexa; and the MetroLab conference October 15 and 16 on NJIT’s campus build upon our tradition of bringing innovative technologies to Newark for the benefit of the city, its residents and its industries.”

Intersection has already deployed over 1,600 kiosks in New York City, through the CityBridge joint venture with Qualcomm and Comark and in London with partners Primesight and BT, with thousands more set to be deployed over the next few years. Intersection provides the software, content, and advertising, and oversees deployment, maintenance, and overall program management for Link in all cities. Kiosks are manufactured by Civiq Smartscapes. Since its launch in 2016, over 3.6 million people have registered to use Link’s free Wi-Fi, with tens of millions of Wi-Fi sessions, hundreds of thousands of free phone calls, and other kiosk services accessed each month. With LinkNWK, Newark joins a growing network of global connected cities.

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