updated 03:05 pm EST, Thu November 15, 2007
CBS Free Manhattan Wi-Fi
CBS today said it has switched on the CBS Mobile Zone, a free Wi-Fi area in mid-town Manhattan that will be accessible by anyone. The large hotspot is intended to CBS' main building in the borough and will ultimately range vertically from the south end of Central Park to west 42nd Street; some of Times Square as well as a significant area between 6th Avenue and 8th Avenue are also covered. This access will be subsidized by a unique approach to ads, CBS says. An initial connection to the network will open a page with ads as well as news and downloads. Many of the ads and content will be specifically targeted at the neighborhood rather than New York City and includes reviews of local restaurants and other shops.
This network is currently considered a test project developed in tandem with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that should last for at least six months. Some areas are live effective immediately and will be joined by the rest of the network by the end of November. Local businesses are also being encouraged to add wireless routers to their buildings to help avoid dark spots inside the area, according to the broadcaster.
The Mobile Zone is not device- or software-specific and will allow cellphones, notebooks, and other hardware to connect as long as they include a web browser. VoIP calling and other comparatively high-demand Internet activities will also be acceptable, CBS notes. If successful, the trial may also expand to include other areas where CBS' Outdoor division has a presence.