Thousands of New Yorkers now have free Internet access in what officials are calling the first fully wired neighborhood in Manhattan. NY1's Bobby Cuza has the story.
Chelsea is already something of a high-tech hotbed thanks in no small part to Google’s offices in the area. Now, much of the surrounding neighborhood is home to the largest outdoor WiFi network in the city.
“This neighborhood can now claim to be the first in Manhattan with totally free outdoor WiFi," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
“All you need is a laptop, or a smartphone, or other wireless-enabled device and a web browser to get online,” Google Chief Information Officer Ben Fried said.
The build-out of the network was paid for by Google and the Chelsea Improvement Company, a nonprofit redevelopment corporation, which points out the coverage area includes the outdoor areas of the Fulton Houses, home to some 2,000 residents.
“The service will not be initially at 15 Central Park West, or somewhere that you might expect WiFi to be provided," Chelsea Improvement Company President Dan Biederman said. "Instead it’ll be in courtyards like these for New York City Housing Authority tenants.”
The WiFi network runs from 15th to 19th Street and from Eighth to Tenth Avenue, including about a two-block stretch of the High Line. It also extends into several of the neighborhood’s other public spaces.”
That includes the Chelsea Triangle at 14th Street and Ninth Avenue as well as public plazas in the Meatpacking District and 14th Street Park at Tenth Avenue.
Officials say the network cost Google and the Chelsea Improvement Company about $115,000 to install. The network also extends to at least one indoor space, the Fulton Senior Center, where some were already using the network Tuesday morning.
“It’s something everybody uses, something everybody wants. And the fact that it’s free is a terrific bonus," said Mark Milder, a volunteer at the Fulton Senior Center.
The next goal is to wire outdoor areas around 34th Street.