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The largest free Wi-Fi zone in the U.S. will cover 95 city blocks

Posting in Technology
 
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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hasn't been shy about touting the idea of free public Wi-Fi zones as a tool to lure entrepreneurs to a city that is quickly becoming the East Coast's version of Silicon Valley

Today, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the largest continuous free outdoor public Wi-Fi network in the United States is being rolled out in New York City's Harlem neighborhood. How big is it? It will cover 95 city blocks and increase Internet access for about 80,000 Harlem residents. 

Work on the project is currently underway and its three phases are expected to be completed by May 2014. The entire project is being funded by a donation from the Fuhrman Family Foundation. 


"Our new Harlem wireless network brings critical connectivity to residents and visitors, giving them 24/7 access to everything from education materials for kids, to information about Harlem’s rich history and attractions, to everyday needs like paying bills, checking library hours – or even just keeping tabs on the Knicks and Nets." 

And, of course, it will be important in ways that we can't yet predict. "Internet access is critical to New York City’s digital future, and today’s announcement will spur technology education, innovation and economic opportunity," said Rachel Haot, New York City’s Chief Digital Officer.

The city already has free Wi-Fi on the subway and hopes to have free Wi-Fi zones in each of the five boroughs.

Photo: Flickr/Marc Ehrich

— By on December 10, 2013, 2:34 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure