updated 06:03 pm EST, Tue December 10, 2013
New network extends 95 city blocks, provides Wi-Fi to underserved populace
New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg today announced the launch of a new outdoor public Wi-Fi network in Harlem accessible to all users at no cost. The Harlem Wi-Fi network will extend 95 city blocks, from 110th to 138th streets between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Madison Avenue -- making it the largest continuous free outdoor public wireless network in the nation.
"Our new Harlem wireless network brings critical connectivity to residents and visitors, giving them 24-7 access to everything from education materials for kids, to information about Harlem's rich history and attractions, to everyday needs like paying bills, checking library hours -- or even just keeping tabs on the Knicks and Nets," said Mayor Bloomberg.
The network, which will be rolled out in three phases in coordination with the city's Technology Development Corporation and the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, will increase digital access for approximately 80,000 Harlem residents, including 13,000 public housing residents, as well as businesses and visitors in the area.
The free public network will serve the community for an initial five-year term and is funded through a donation from the Fuhrman Family Foundation to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. The first phase, extending from 110th to 120th streets between Madison Avenue and Frederick Douglass Boulevard, is underway -- with the remaining phases to be complete by May.
"Increasing wireless connectivity helps to strengthen neighborhoods for those who live, work, and visit and is a key component of the Bloomberg Administration's efforts to ensure digital inclusion," said Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant. "The Harlem Wi-Fi network extends wireless access to thousands of New Yorkers, enabling convenient free connectivity on-the-go."