Dana Spiegel of nycwireless loses his temper with the Park department: The contract with the New York City Park Department nearly two years ago required Wi-Fi Salon, the winning bidder, to build out Wi-Fi service and pay the city some fees. Newer deals no longer require fees, because that appeared to be counterproductive to getting service running, and Parks put a deadline of about a month ago on having at least Central Park up and running. Wi-Fi Salon announced a deal with Nokia for sponsorship and technology. And now...no word, Spiegel notes. Visit Wi-Fi Salon's News page and you'll note a lot of links to the coverage of "upcoming" access, and no information on the site as to when and where service exists. The deadline of a month ago was an ultimatum, as correctly reported by the New York Times; it was reported most everywhere else as an announcement date as to when Central Park would have live Wi-Fi, a mistake. Update: See comments below; Klaus Ernst has tested six of eight Central Park hotspots and was able to get a reply from Wi-Fi Salon about launch.
Spiegel notes that nycwireless has been busy this summer without a city mandate: "Over this past summer, NYCwireless has brought online a number of new hotspots, including Brooklyn Bridge Park, Stuyvesant Cove Park, and Madison Square Park. We’ve launched (through the work of students at Monroe College) hotspots at a bunch of restaurants and gathering places in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Harlem. We’ve upgraded some of our hotspots that provide free Wi-Fi for affordable housing residents at some Dunn Development & Community Access buildings."
He also discusses in brief a situation he had alerted me to via email where the Park Department has prevented Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza from installing nodes in that public space without a spurious and poorly defined insurance requirement. The department also demanded that Madison Square Park's access be turned off--it was fully operational--so as not to embarrass the Park Department while it's own separately authorized hotspots weren't running.
Is there a reporter in New York who wants to run with this? This sounds like a good story, with threats, governmental interference in private and non-profit efforts, attempts to control unlicensed spectrum, and incompetence!