More free Wi-Fi coming to Brooklyn, Financial District and more
Good news for New Yorkers who can't stand to be disconnected -- there's more free Wi-Fi on the way.
Neighborhoods that have seen booms in tech-related jobs such as Downtown Brooklyn will be part of a pilot program to encourage developers and communities to enhance their broadband capabilities, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"Our work is to ensure more New Yorkers have the power of the Web no matter where they live or work," the mayor said Monday while announcing the plan.
The neighborhoods that will have access in certain areas include Downtown Brooklyn, the Financial District, Long Island City, Brownsville and Harlem. All have seen growth in the tech sector.
Bloomberg said the free Wi-Fi , which will go online in December, is crucial to the industry's exponential growth and more needed to be done.
The city also launched a program that will provide information about a building's broadband infrastructure.
Dana Spiegel, the executive director of NYCwireless, a nonprofit that advocates and supports initiatives for free public Wi-Fi, said the mayor's concern is real because only 5% of the city has open public Wi-Fi, paling in comparison to other cities like Philadelphia and San Francisco. Spiegel noted that Wi-Fi has become more of a necessity than just for people wanting to stream Netflix on a subway platform.
"A lot of city workers aren't at their desks. Inspectors and city workers need the Internet access to upload reports and look at data. Even office workers who need to make sales calls, so a strong, wireless infrastructure is a must," he said.
Spiegel said a public-private partnership is the most efficient way to make the city more wired and commended the city for the program. Under the Economic Development Corporation plan, three Business Improvement Districts -- the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the Flatiron 23rd St. Partnership and Downtown Alliance -- as well as the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Wi-Fi provider GOWEX, received a total of $900,000 to set up and operate the services for three years.
"The city's visionary commitment to expanding access to wireless and broadband in commercial districts not only helps to support the growth of the innovation economy," Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed, who has been pushing for more tech companies in his neighborhood, said in a statement.
Bloomberg also announced the launch of WiredNYC, which rates the broadband access of the city's buildings. The program, which already has 150 buildings signed up, includes grades of platinum, gold, silver, and connected that will be live at wiredscore.com.
Spiegel said he believes this idea will make connected properties more valuable and encourage other buildings to upgrade.
"Most of the real estate isn't on ground level, it's higher up. It's a harder problem to solve without private help," he said.
Here are the locations of the new Wi-Fi spots:
- Downtown Brooklyn: The area bordered by Schermerhorn St, Cadman Plaza West, Flatbush Ave and Tillary St.
- Lower Manhattan: Along the Water Street corridor between Whitehall and Fulton Streets.
- Fort Greene and Clinton Hill: Fulton Street between Rockwell Place to Classon Avenue.
- Long Island City: The area bordered by Queens Plaza, Jackson Blvd and Vernon Blvd.
- Brownsville: The area bordered by Sutter Avenue, Mother Gaston Boulevard, Pitkin Avenue and Howard Avenue.
- Harlem: 125th Street from Broadway to Second Avenue.
- Roosevelt Island: The area between the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge and Roosevelt Island Bridge.
- Staten Island: Hyatt Street between St. Marks Place and Stuyvesant Place.
- The Bronx: East Fordham Road from Grand Concourse to Arthur Avenue.