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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Central Park to be wireless hub
By Jeremy Cooke
BBC News, New York

Central Park, New York
New Yorkers use the park to escape Manhattan's mayhem
New York has announced plans to expand free wireless internet connections into Central Park and other public places across the city.

Officials estimate that the new system will be up and running by the summer and will attract thousands of outdoor computer users.

For the ever growing number of on-the-move New Yorkers addicted to laptops and PDAs, this is good news.

Many have grown used to paying for wi-fi connections in New York's cafes.

Now, though, they will be able to log on outdoors and for free.

843 acres (340 hectares), in a long rectangle
25 million visitors each year
26,000 trees, 9,000 benches
Fewer than 100 crimes reported in 2005

The city's Parks Department says that by July there will be eight wireless hotspots offering coverage over much of Central Park, where thousands of office workers and tourists eat lunch or relax away from the mayhem of Manhattan.

New York has already rolled out free wireless connection in other selected areas, including Bryant Park in mid-town and Tompkins Square Park in the East Village, and eventually all major parks in the city will offer coverage.

It is all paid for by corporate sponsorship and may be the blueprint for even more ambitious projects in locations including Philadelphia, which aim to eventually offer free wireless access not just in public spaces but across entire American cities.

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