Thanks to AT&T, New Yorkers will be able to visit more of their favorite public parks and enjoy free wireless Internet. The mobile phone carrier, in a partnership with the New York City Parks Department, launched free Wi-Fi at five more city parks Thursday.
AT&T added Wi-Fi hotspots in Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan, Astoria Park in Queens, McCarren Park Field House and Herbert Von King Park in Brooklyn, and Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island. Over the summer, AT&T and the Parks Department built free hotspots in Battery Park, Rumsey Playfield, Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx and several areas of Thomas Jefferson Park in East Harlem.
The Wi-Fi rollout is part of a five-year initiative co-developed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and AT&T's CEO and chairman Randall Stephenson. The plan, announced on June 9, seeks to bring free Wi-Fi to 26 locations within 20 New York City parks across the five boroughs. AT&T is slated to bring hotspots to more parks, but there is no set schedule.
[New Yorkers can] expect to see new parks come online in the next several months, said an AT&T spokesperson.
New York has become increasingly digitized lately. Subway systems have begun to be outfitted with free wireless hotspots (thanks to Transit Wireless LLC), large public areas like Times Square have been blanketed with free Wi-Fi hot zones and even luxury car services are beginning to implement wireless connectivity.
Last year, venture capitalist Alex Mashinsky, who is also CEO of a car-booking company called GroundLink, outfitted 1,000 New York City livery cars with free, ad-supported Wi-Fi, as well as outlets and chargers for various mobile devices.
This entire effort to make New York City more digital is outlined in Mayor Bloomberg's Road Map For the Digital City, a four-pronged plan to propel the city into the digital age. Bloomberg's platform involves expanding Internet access citywide, developing an open government apps and framework featuring APIs for city data, engaging New Yorkers through various media services and building more technology infrastructure.
The City of New York will work with other cities to support the development of compatible, interoperable systems that enable the smooth transfer of information and the development of an ecosystem of tools and applications that benefit citizens in every city, the report said.
AT&T most recently outlined its 4G LTE strategy, and the company is still currently working to acquire T-Mobile USA.