What’s the deciding factor for you when you visit a coffee shop for the first time? I don’t know about you, but it seems that, for many people, it’s whether or not the coffee shop offers free Wi-Fi. If you have a good data plan, then obviously that is not an issue for you (if your cellular provider has awesome data coverage, that is). For many people on the go, though, free Wi-Fi is an essential consideration these days. And, if you live in Harlem, then you’re one lucky person. That’s because the largest free public Wi-Fi network in the United States is going to Harlem. A whole 95 blocks of free public Wi-Fi.
The initiative can be attributed to Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who prides himself in making his city better for its inhabitants, and in this case, for visitors as well. The free public Wi-Fi in Harlem will cover 110th to 138th Streets between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Madison Avenue – meaningless if you’re not familiar with the area, but just think 95 blocks. Wi-Fi access for free practically everywhere you go.
In his announcement, the Mayor gives some pretty impressive figures:
“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. In 2013 being successful requires being connected; thanks to the Fuhrman Family Foundation and the Mayor’s Fund, we are wiring nearly 100 blocks in Harlem and giving 80,000 New Yorkers another tool for success.”
Naturally, the project is not going to happen overnight. The free public Wi-Fi network project in Harlem is meant to be rolled out in three stages, with the final stage supposedly to be completed by May next year.
In this day and age where Internet access is all but essential, this is indeed a pretty good gift from the Mayor of New York.
[Image via theverge]