Free Wi-Fi Coming to Brownsville, Harlem, the Bronx, and Housing Projects in Brooklyn

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W X Y architecture + urban design
A rendering of Brooklyn's "Tech Triangle"
On the heels of a report that New York's tech sector grew faster than almost any other city's--becoming the city's second-largest industry this year--comes more good tech news.

Mayor Bloomberg announced Monday the city will be rolling out free and public wireless corridors to 10 neighborhoods in December.

Alongside monied enclaves like Flatiron and the Financial District, lower-income areas like Brownsville, Harlem, the Bronx, and a slice of downtown Brooklyn encompassing two housing projects will be getting free access to the Internet.

The full list includes downtown Brooklyn's "Tech Triangle," Water Street between Whitehall and Fulton Streets in Lower Manhattan, parts of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, a section of Long Island City, a piece in Brownsville, a stretch of 125th Street in Harlem, much of Roosevelt Island, a length of Hyatt Street on Staten Island, part of East Fordham Road in the Bronx, and a stretch of 23rd Street in Flatiron.

See also: 30 More Subway Stations Are Getting WiFi

The city will contribute $900,000 to the project; the rest, some $2.5 million, will come from the private sector, according to the mayor's office.

Some of the hotspots will be sponsored by a neighborhood association, like Alliance for Downtown New York, or an influential neighborhood presence, like Brooklyn Academy of Music. The rest, including corridors in "the most disadvantaged areas, such as the Bronx and Harlem," will be provided by the Spanish firm GOWEX, which already operates almost 2000 hotspots around New York City.

GOWEX's CEO Jenaro Garcia said in an official statement circulated on Monday, "Wi-Fi is like water: it is essential to modern life and everybody should be able to benefit from it."

Everybody, that is, including GOWEX, which makes money from advertising in the devices it connects to the Internet, and from partnerships with mobile carriers (their free WiFi reduces cellphone companies' data loads).

Maps of the proposed wireless corridors on the next page

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Vinanti Sarkar
Vinanti Sarkar

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