Google To Launch Free Wi-Fi In NYC’s Chelsea Neighborhood
January 9, 2013

New York’s Chelsea Neighborhood To Get Google Wi-Fi Service

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Google announced on Tuesday that it would begin offering free public Wi-Fi service to people in the western portion of New York City´s Chelsea neighborhood, where the company has its local headquarters.

The 13-block coverage zone includes areas between Gansevoort Street and West 19th Street, from 8th Avenue to 10th Avenue.

Google CIO Ben Fried made the announcement in Manhattan, alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Schumer.

The initiative, Fried said, will help keep residents and tourists connected to the Web when they´re outdoors. The company also plans to provide indoor Wi-Fi services for people in public housing units in the area.

The cost of the project was just $115,000, with an additional $45,000 per year in maintenance costs, CNN reported.

Google covered two-thirds of the expense, while the Chelsea Improvement Company, a local public advocacy group, provided the rest.

Google's 3,000-employee New York headquarters is the company´s second-largest global office, and the fourth largest office building in Manhattan.

Fried said Google is now providing free Wi-Fi access to many of its neighbors, including the more than 2,000 residents of the Fulton Houses, the 5,000 student population in Chelsea and "hundreds of workers, retail customers, and tourists who visit our neighborhood every day.”

Senator Schumer praised the rollout, saying it would help invigorate the city.

"It's great. It's high-tech, it's high-speed, it's high job growth, and it's free," said Senator Schumer (D-NY).

"This cutting edge wireless network will help to cement New York's reputation as a leader in technological development, will help the city continue to attract business and grow our booming Silicon Alley, and will take us one step closer to our goal of becoming the most well-connected city in America," he said in a statement.

Schumer and Bloomberg discussed the possibility of a city-wide outdoor wireless network, which Bloomberg suggested could be funded with federal dollars. Such a project would only require "a smidgen of what [Hurricane] Sandy is costing us,” Schumer noted.

"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,” he said.

AT&T currently provides free Wi-Fi services in 20 New York City parks, with another 32 to be rolled out by September, Mayor Bloomberg said.

Google has already rolled out free Wi-Fi service in Mountain View, California, where the company is headquartered, saying the initiative is part of its “ongoing efforts to reach out to our hometown.”