Google has announced plans to create the largest public outdoor wireless network in New York to provide free internet access in parts of the city’s Chelsea area, where it has offices.
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Google's Wi-Fi initiative is part of the search firm’s attempt to foster a technology community in 'Silicon Alley', the New York rival to California's Silicon Valley, according to the Telegraph.
Ben Fried, CIO for Google, said the Wi-Fi network would serve the 2,000-plus residents of the Fulton Houses housing project, the 5,000-plus student population of Chelsea and hundreds of workers, retail customers and tourists who visit the neighborhood daily.
Google already hosts a Wi-Fi network around its California base in Mountain View and has been working on a fibre broadband project in Kansas City that is set to expand in 2013.
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The Kansas City network delivers one gigabit broadband speeds, which Google is offering to customers with an optional TV package.
A free standard broadband service is available for a one-off $300 fibre construction fee.
Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, said the search company may expand the fibre service to other regions if it proves successful.
The Kansas City network is part of a Google project to build ultra high-speed fibre optic networks to demonstrate how to achieve universal access at one gigabit per second.