Google on Tuesday announced effectively immediately, it has begun sponsoring a free public outdoor WiFi network in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, where the search giant's New York offices are located. Google partnered with the New York City government and the Chelsea Improvement Company, the latter of which will actually administer the network, which covers the following area:
...roughly between Gansevoort St. and 19 St. from 8th Ave to the West Side Highway, as well as the neighborhood’s public spaces, including the Chelsea Triangle, 14th Street Park, and Gansevoort Plaza
Here's a rough map:
View Google Chelsea WiFi in a larger map
Google's interest in the project is in giving back to the neighborhood in which over 3,100 of its employees work, and helping to bridge the digital divide, as a spokesperson told TPM by phone. Google's initial agreement is to sponsor the network for the next two years, but will likely extend sponsorship thereafter. The network is primarily for outdoor use, so many of the offices located in Chelsea won't be able to quit their current Internet service providers. TPM's HQ office is located just outside the coverage area on 6th Ave and 20th St.
Google isn't collecting any information from users who connect to the network, but accessing the free WiFi requires users agree to a standard terms-of-service provided by the Chelsea Improvement Company.
TechCrunch was the first to report on the news on Tuesday.