Google recently announced that it would be providing free Wi-Fi service to a neighborhood in New York City, Chelsea, where Google headquarters are located. It would feature outdoor service for all of the tourists and residents and indoor coverage for public housing units.
True High Speed
Google Wi-Fi provides about 5 to 10 Megabits per second, which translates into the speed of an average home internet connection. The fiber optic high speed coverage that is expanding to areas can download at speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second. That is 200 times faster than a typical home internet connection.
While Google said it has no further plans other than to contribute to the area where it is headquartered, the mayor Michael Bloomberg and NY Senator Charles Shumer were intrigued by the low cost and said they would like all of New York to have free Wi-Fi. They said it was just a fraction of what Sandy cost the state and they would like to provide free internet service to everyone in the state.
It only cost $115,000 to get the technology installed for the Chelsea Wi-Fi and it carries a $45,000 annual maintenance cost. Google covered two-thirds of the cost and a local public advocacy group, Chelsea Improvement Company, covered the rest.
While New York had Wi-Fi in 20 parks, this was the first widespread public Wi-Fi to be attempted. The challenges of providing internet service in a densely populated area were complicated by the tall buildings and providing clear signals.
Google has also been providing Wi-Fi in Mountain View, where its main headquarters are located. It has also temporarily provided internet service in New York subway stations, airports, and other locations. Google is able and motivated to tackle the problems that come with building infrastructure because it makes money when people are connected to the internet.