Verizon Communications has switched on 150 Wi-Fi access points located around New York City, launching an outdoor wireless network aimed at attracting subscribers to its Verizon Online Internet access service.
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The Verizon HotSpots are built into the company's pay-phone kiosks and offer high-speed connections in a radius of up to 300ft.
Verizon Online subscribers can access the network for free, using Wi-Fi-equipped devices such as laptops or handheld computers.
A map of the HotSpots is available online at www.verizon.com/wifi/. Verizon will update the map as HotSpots are added. By the end of the year, the company intends to have 1,000 active throughout the city.
Verizon also lowered prices and raised the maximum available speeds on its consumer and small business-targeted DSL subscription packages.
Verizon's DSL service now starts at $29.95 (£18.55) a month when purchased in conjunction with the company's phone services, down from $34.95 a month. The price tag for stand-alone DSL service also dropped to $34.95 (£21.65), down from a minimum of $49.95.
The maximum download speed available through Verizon Online DSL was increased to 1.5Mbps, up from 768Kbps.
The goal of the changes, particularly the Wi-Fi network rollout, is to make the broadband experience better for Verizon Online's subscribers, and to draw new customers to the service, said Michael Lanier, Verizon's broadband wireless internet marketing director.
New York is already a relatively Wi-Fi-equipped city. Volunteer-run non-profit NYCWireless has advocated for and helped construct free public wireless access points for years.
Earlier this month, the Downtown Alliance, an advocacy group for lower Manhattan, began establishing free Wi-Fi spots throughout the district.
Verizon's Lanier said the company did not view those free efforts as competition, since Verizon's Wi-Fi network is intended as a perk for its broadband customers rather than a standalone service.