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Posted by Harjeet September 15, 2010 11:15

If you live in New York you will be lucky enough to have access to free wifi in parks as of next year. Kind of.

The two mammoth companies Time Warner and Cablevision are spending $10 million on the scheme to get wifi connectivity in 32 parks in the US city and in return they are getting a 10-year renewal of the companies' lucrative cable-television franchises.

However, the “free” internet as it is being referred to is actually three 10-minute sessions a month, so half an hour in total for each person. Any additional internet usage is being charged at 99 cents a day.

Some people are not entirely happy with the scheme though, such a City Councilwoman Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan) who tells New York Daily News: "There should be totally free wireless in the parks."

As head of the Council's Technology in Government Committee, Brewer has made the fight for free WiFi one of her key concerns and worries people may unwittingly be charged and have to give cash for phone usage they are unaware they used. She adds: “This sounds like a joke. I don't understand how this works logistically. How will they track people's use and charge everyone?"

Dana Spiegel, head of NYCwireless is also debating the move. She says: "The way people use WiFi in public spaces is not to hop on and hop off after a few minutes. Real people use it for a half hour or hours at a time, and that means the cable companies will end up charging them."

As more people sell mobile phones and get smartphones with internet capabilities, it will be interesting to see if other countries begin to offer similar free wifi in public areas such as parks.

Tags / Keywords

wifi | new york | free internet | cash for phone | sell mobile phones

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