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Google launches free Wi-Fi network in New York

Chelsea, home to Google's NYC HQ, will get a free Wi-Fi network, Google and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg announced today. 

By Matthew Shaer / January 8, 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at an announcement of free neighborhood Wi-fi in New York on Jan. 8, 2013. The Wi-fi initiative is supported by Google.

Reuters

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New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced at a press conference today that Google will help to launch a free Wi-Fi network in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea. The project will be the largest free network in the city, and a boon to the dozens of tech start-ups and Internet companies, including Google, that call Chelsea home. 

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According to CNN, the network cost $115,000 to get off the ground; annual maintenance costs will total $45,000. Google is reportedly responsible for two-thirds of all expenses; the remainder falls to Chelsea Improvement Company, a community group. 

"It's not very expensive at all – just a smidgeon of what Sandy cost," US Senator Chuck Schumer said at a press conference in Manhattan today. "The mayor and I said maybe we could get this done for all of New York. We look forward to the day when all of New York has free Wi-Fi."

In related news, Google is currently testing a high-speed Internet network called Google Fiber in the Kansas City area. Locals can get their hands on the service, which is said to be 100 times faster than services offered by other providers, for $70 a month. $120 a month, meanwhile, will buy you Google Fiber TV, a package that includes a range of broadcast networks and a Nexus 7 tablet for use as a remote control. 

So hey, is there any chance New York could see a Google Fiber pilot program of its own? Well, over at Web Pro News, Zach Walton highlights a recent job posting for a "Google Fiber Sales Rep for New York City." From the advert: "The Google Fiber Sales Representative be a part of a team to evangelizes Google Fiber services to small and medium business and multi unit dwellings."

But it's doubtful this is much more than some initial groundwork – Google has stressed that much of its energy remains focused on the Kansas City rollout. Our advice, New Yorkers? Don't hold your breath. 

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