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New York City, AT&T Bringing Free Wi-Fi to Public Parks

AT&T will offer free Wi-Fi hot spots in 20 New York City public parks as part of city initiative to strengthen e-government.

AT&T will offer free Wi-Fi hot spots in 20 New York City public parks in support of a new digital road map for the metropolitan area.

Free Wi-Fi service is now live at Battery Bosque in Battery Park, a playground in Joyce Kilmer Park in the Bronx, and around the recreation center at Thomas Jefferson Park in East Harlem. More locations will be added to 17 more parks later this summer and fall across the five boroughs. AT&T has committed to the initiative for the next five years.

Last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rachel Sterne, the city’s chief digital officer, unveiled a comprehensive plan to further strengthen New York City’s e-government, wireless and social media offerings. The document calls for a streamlined city Web portal, more integration of social media tools and better broadband availability in public spaces.

The 20 parks are:

  • Bronx: Joyce Kilmer Park, Bronx River Park and Devoe Park
  • Brooklyn: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fort Greene Park, Herbert Von King Park, McCarren Park and Prospect Park
  • Manhattan: Battery Park, Thomas Jefferson Park, Central Park (multiple locations), the High Line, Holcombe Rucker Park, Marcus Garvey Park and Tompkins Square Park
  • Queens: Astoria Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park and MacDonald Park
  • Staten Island: Clove Lake Park and South Beach
The Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications has been working with private-sector carriers to bring Wi-Fi to more public spaces, Bloomberg said during an outdoor news conference at Thomas Jefferson Park on Thursday, June. Bloomberg was flanked by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson for the announcement.

Users of the new hotspots don’t have to be an AT&T customer to use them. There are no advertisements, and log-in registration isn’t required, Bloomberg said. Users must agree to terms of service.

“This is the first project of its type that we have done in any city across the United States,” Stephenson said.

The NYC Parks and Recreation Department has set up a Web page explaining its Wi-Fi in the parks project.



Miriam Jones is a former chief copy editor of Government Technology, Governing, Public CIO and Emergency Management magazines.