City, AT&T launch free WiFi in parks

WiFi is going green in Bronx and other parks around the city.

Bronxites will now be able to stay connected with their laptops, smartphones, tablets and other Wi-Fi-enabled devices even while enjoying everything the borough’s parks have to offer.

The city this week extended WiFi service to six more Bronx parks, bringing the number of borough recreational spots that now have free or low-cost internet access to eight.

Mayor Bloomberg and AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson recently announced, a five-year initiative to provide free Wi-Fi service at 26 locations in 20 New York City parks across the five boroughs.

Wi-Fi provides fast connection to the internet from portable devices. AT&T Wi-Fi at city parks will be free for all users.

From most smartphones and devices, customers will be able to automatically connect and switch seamlessly between Wi-Fi and wireless networks.

Virtually all new smartphones come equipped with Wi-Fi technology, and usage does not count toward customers’ smartphone data plans.

As of Monday, new WiFi-equipped parks, scattered along the length of the borough, are Bronx Park (at the sections near Van Nest and Williamsbridge), Gun Hill Playground (Williamsbridge), Owen F. Dolen Park (Westchester Square), Seton Falls Park (Edenwald), St. James Park (Kingsbridge) and St. Mary’s Park (Mott Haven). Devoe Park (University Heights) and Joyce Kilmer Park (Concourse) already have unlimited free service, which is provided by AT&T.

Cablevision and Time Warner Cable will provide the service at no cost to their subscribers; other parkgoers can get 30 minutes of free access each month, and pay 99 cents per day thereafter.

“In May, we laid out a strategy to make New York City the nation’s leading digital city, and AT&T’s generous initiative to bring Wi-Fi to 20 City parks will help us get there,” Bloomberg said. “New York City has the greatest network of public parks in the world, and we’ve invested heavily to expand and enhance them. Now, thanks to the terrific corporate citizenship of AT&T, they will provide an even better experience for New Yorkers and visitors.”

Stephenson said AT&T is “pleased to join Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to bring the convenience and benefits of Wi-Fi to many of the city’s world-renowned parks. ”

“The addition of Wi-Fi to parks across the city, specifically Thomas Jefferson Park, will give people the opportunity to experience internet access that they may otherwise not have had, making things like job searching an easier endeavor for many local residents,” said state Senator Jose M. Serrano. “Providing wireless internet free of charge will also give New Yorkers a fresh incentive to spend more time outdoors this summer. I commend Mayor Bloomberg and AT&T for launching a program that will surely be embraced and utilized by New Yorkers citywide.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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