Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Free Wi-Fi Internet for wired New Yorkers

Now this is a fantastic idea that will hopefully catch on quickly in other parts of the world... American media conglomerate CBS Corporation has announced plans to create a free wireless high-speed network in Midtown Manhattan.

The "CBS Mobile Zone" will let New Yorkers (and Manhattan tourists) access the internet for free, by using their wi-fi enabled cellphones, laptops, or other devices.

The HotZone will cover a generous 20 city blocks in Midtown Manhattan - from Times Square to Central Park South, and from 6th Ave to 8th Ave (indicated in red in the map below...)

Users accessing the free network will be greeted with an ad-supported homepage that includes breaking news, sports highlights, weather reports, maps, ringtones, and the ability to search for nearby shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

The large "CBS Mobile Zone" will be powered by transmitters fitted to the company's Outdoor billboards, as well as the panels above some MTA subway stations.

The plan is likely to prove a hit with the growing number of Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users. The CBS Wi-Fi HotZone is already available in limited areas, but will be fully operational by the end of November.

I'm looking forward to being able to use the network on my next visit to New York City... I'm enjoying the video capabilities of my new Apple iPod Touch gadget, but unfortunately haven't been able to do much exploring with its wi-fi capabilities, due to the fact New Zealand is somewhat behind the times when it comes to wireless hotspots.

* Source: CBS Offers Midtown Manhattan Free Wireless Internet Access

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