This comes years after varying plans and bidding proposals that didn't work: AT&T is paying for the cost of installing and operating Wi-Fi in 20 parts in the five boroughs of New York City, including the High Line, the park converted from old elevated rail lines, long abandoned. It's a several-year deal, apparently. Right not, three parks (Battery Bosque in Battery Park, part of Joyce Kilmer Park, and the rec center at Thomas Jefferson Park) have service. The rest are coming this summer.
Update: Please read the comments. Parks didn't bid this out or have an open process.
Bryant Park has long had free Wi-Fi, delivered through a series of hands, and it's been an apparent success as part of the terrific revitalization of a public space that was once abandoned to drug deals.
Karl Bode at DSLReports reminds us that last September, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision were planning to install Wi-Fi in 32 parks as part of their cable franchise extension, offering just 10-minute sessions up to three times a month before charging 99¢ a day. It's unclear where these two plans intersect.
Glenn, thanks for reporting on this.
One thing you mention is that this comes "years after varying plans and bidding proposals that didn't work". There in fact weren't ANY plans and bidding proposals. In fact, there's a big question about how "AT&T" got such a sweet deal on this *WITHOUT* any bidding process. NYC's DoITT said they were going to put out an RFP (as they would do with garbage collection, or tree maintenance, for example), but never did. How did AT&T get selected with no competition?
Wonderful question Dana. When I worked with Wireless Harlem from 2006-2008 we approched DoITT about providing free wireless in Central Harlem and the park closet to 125th Street, Marcus Garvey Park, that serves an extremly diverse community; there was so many telco and Cablevision that supposedly had agreements to bid for the opportunity to provide free wireless to that underserved community and 4 years later what progress has been made. Someone should look into how DoITT awarded AT&T the deal. But then who really looks into city fraud these days..wait..any DoITT employees want to send a "confidential" letter to NYCity Controller John Liu?
I was thinking about previous flawed parks efforts. Doesn't this violate all kinds of city rules, regardless of whether service is "free"? AT&T presumably gets access to facilities and other benefits, as well as the value of the advertising.