Google is bringing free Wi-Fi to New York City

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Google, in a press conference along with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Senator Charles Schumer, have announced that it is going to provide free Wi-Fi service to Chelsea, a New York City neighborhood.

The company says that it hopes to keep the thousands of residents and millions of tourists in the area connected at all times through their service. Indoor Wi-Fi will also be provided for public housing units in the area, according to Google. The company’s Wi-Fi services has speeds of  about 5 to 10 Megabits per second, which is comparable to typical home internet connections except for the fact that it’s of course, free of charge.

After offering Google Fiber for users in Kansas City, some users in New York City might be hoping that this is a sign of bigger things to come in their city. Google chief information officer, Ben Fried, is quick to note that this is unfortunately, not the case. “This has no relation to Google Fiber. We’re citizens of this community, and we felt that it was important to contribute.”

Another interesting fact about the venture is the cost of the entire thing — which is not very expensive at all, according to officials. The total costs for installing all the technology amounts to just $115,000, along with a $45,000 annual maintenance cost. Considering the amount of Google makes, I’d have to agree. Google didn’t single-handedly cover the costs, however, the Chelsea Improvement Company paid for a third of the total amount.

Senator Schumer and the other officials present were reasonably excited at the potential of this project in a much larger scale. “The mayor and I said maybe we could get this done for all of New York. We look forward to the day when all of New York has free Wi-Fi,” said Schumer.

[via CNN Money, image via Doug Kerr]

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4 comments

  1. Enrique

    @Coyote: Ha, I heard the very same thing from a friend in New York. Of all the places, Chelsea isn’t exactly the one that needed the free Internet. But google’s local headquarters it located in Chelsea’s neighborhood, so I guess they wanted to start there.