The first four public Wi-Fi network hubs recently went live for use in the Big Apple. The hubs, located on Third Avenue between 15th and 19th Street, are part of a city-wide program to replace decommissioned payphones with speedy wireless connectivity.

First-hand accounts from those that have tried the service are overwhelmingly positive.

Bryan Lufkin of Gizmodo put the network to the test using Ookla's popular Speedtest app. The public Wi-Fi network benchmarked at 436.37Mbps down and 360.55Mbps up with a ping time of 6ms. The nearby Starbucks (which also offers free Wi-Fi) managed just 7.59Mbps down and an upload speed of 1.60Mbps (ping was 7ms).

The Verge also reported upload and download speeds of more than 300Mbps while Engadget hit 280Mbps up / 317Mbps down.

Users only need to supply an e-mail address to establish a connection. Officials behind the project say addresses are collected for informational purposes only although the service reserves the right to send information about goods or services that may interest users (spam). Once you've logged in at one location, it'll carry over automatically across the entire network.

The LinkNYC project ultimately aims to install 7,500 kiosks across the city over the next 12 years. In addition to Wi-Fi, each kiosk features a touchscreen computer for web browsing purposes, USB charging ports, an emergency button, an audio jack and two large advertising displays. The revenue generated from ads shown on the screens will help pay for the rollout.