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Google Networking The Internet Wireless Networking Technology

Google Wiring New York City's Chelsea For Free Wi-Fi 67

Posted by Soulskill
from the now-do-the-rest-of-the-country dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "On the heels of rolling out high-speed broadband to Kansas City, Google is bringing more connectivity to another American municipality: New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, which will receive Wi-Fi in outdoor areas courtesy of the search-engine giant. The free Internet zone will encompass an area between 8th Avenue and the West Side Highway on the East-West access, and 19th Street and Gansevoort Street on the North-South. It will cost $115,000 to build and $45,000 a year to maintain, according to Bloomberg, with costs split between Google and a nonprofit neighborhood development group. Internet access will come free of advertising, aside from a provider message from Google, and not require any sort of password. Under mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York City has encouraged the development of a sizable tech sector; in addition to dozens of startups, Google and other behemoths have opened headquarters in Manhattan. In theory, this 'Silicon Alley' will contribute mightily to the city's tax base and diversify the local economy."
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Google Wiring New York City's Chelsea For Free Wi-Fi

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  • by mariox19 (632969) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:34PM (#42522727)

    Hipster Web.

    • by bmo (77928)

      >hipster

      I don't think you have any idea what the neighborhood entails and its history, specifically the Hotel Chelsea, in Chelsea.

      *whacks you with a film can on which you can barely make out a label that once read "Chelsea Girls"*

      --
      BMO "Oh no it does not move me, even though I've seen the movie"

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:37PM (#42522771) Homepage Journal

    First they have this billionaire oligarch, then they just buy whatever players they want, then he keeps sacking managers...

    We're talking about the same Chelsea, right?

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:43PM (#42522849) Homepage Journal

    Chelsea is much larger than what the article relates. It encompasses the area (roughly) from 9th St (and that weird triangle area with Gansevoort) up to about 28th and from 5th Avenue to 12th (there is a 13th Ave but it's no longer accessible).

    As someone further up suggested, Hipster Web.

    • I'm guessing that part of the choice for the location is that it overlaps with the part of the High Line park [thehighline.org] that has a lot of hangout areas and food vendors.
      • I'm sure it does. Only being a pedantic snit as others are on here when other subjects come up.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:56PM (#42523879)
        It's also not a coincidence that their New York Headquarters is right in the middle of that neighborhood...
        • by LordNicholas (2174126) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @05:30PM (#42524317)

          This. Their NYC offices are the in the old Port Authority building at 111 8th avenue. Apparently they bought that particular building because there's a major fiber line that runs through it.

          Source: I used to work out of the building before Google bought it.

          • For people not familiar with the building, it's 15 stories tall and fills the whole block, and has more total floor area than the Empire State Building. When the Port Authority outgrew this building, they built the World Trade Center to hold their offices.

            If you fire up Google Earth for 111 8th Street, you will see that the service area for this wifi is all within 3 blocks of the building, and nearly all direct line of sight. An old cynic like me would say they did this so the Google staff could stay conn

    • by russotto (537200)

      Chelsea is much larger than what the article relates. It encompasses the area (roughly) from 9th St (and that weird triangle area with Gansevoort) up to about 28th and from 5th Avenue to 12th (there is a 13th Ave but it's no longer accessible).

      IMO, Chelsea runs from 6th all the way west (Flatiron is east of that), but doesn't include anything south of 14th. The WiFi area appears to be roughly centered on Google's building at 15th-16th from 7th to 8th.

      • by russotto (537200)

        The WiFi area appears to be roughly centered on Google's building at 15th-16th from 7th to 8th.

        Migraines really mess up your thinking. Google's building runs from 8th to 9th... and it's where I work (though I had nothing to do with the wifi) so I should know better.

    • Chelsea Improvement already had decent free wifi in parks. I've hung out at 14th St with my laptop a couple of times and the internet was respectably fast. I really wish they'd run it further south down the Hudson River Park so I didn't have to walk so far.

      Below 14th St is West Village/Meatpacking. Just as hipster, but not Chelsea.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:45PM (#42522871)

    Dear Google,

    How do you plan on overcoming internet dropping out for blocks around everytime someone wants to make some hot pockets?

    Sincerely,
    Unregulated Spectrum

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @03:50PM (#42522947) Homepage Journal

      Dear Google,

      How do you plan on overcoming internet dropping out for blocks around everytime someone wants to make some hot pockets?

      Sincerely,
      Unregulated Spectrum

      The relays will be running at enough power to cook a passing pigeon, so there's also the bonus of feeding street people nourishing hot meals.

      also, if you stay in the area long enough you won't need a tanning bed!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:07PM (#42523193)

    WTF, "diversify the local economy" of NYC?!? The only place I've ever been that has more for sale than NYC was Phnom Penh, Cambodia where I could buy B40 rockets [wikipedia.org] and hashish.

  • People from abusing this service.. p2p, spamming, snooping, etc... ?
    • why should they care?
      that's usually an issue of people abusing the service, not an issue of rolling out the service.

      • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:26PM (#42523457) Homepage

        Until they get a subpeona for someone downloading child porn or downloading music.

        If they simply say "well, we have no idea of who is using it for what", some clever lawyer will say they're facilitating this.

        • by bmo (77928)

          >If they simply say "well, we have no idea of who is using it for what", some clever lawyer will say they're facilitating this.

          And it would be laughed out of the courtroom.

          Show me one court case where someone was held criminally responsible for having open wireless and it was abused by a third party.

          One.
          Case.

          I double-dog-dare you.

          --
          BMO

          • >If they simply say "well, we have no idea of who is using it for what", some clever lawyer will say they're facilitating this.

            And it would be laughed out of the courtroom.

            Show me one court case where someone was held criminally responsible for having open wireless and it was abused by a third party.

            One. Case.

            I double-dog-dare you.

            -- BMO

            This is kind of mixed. It appears that the MPAA will often back down if you run an open wifi defense. However, it might not work for a child porn defense. http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2007/04/child-porn-case-shows-that-an-open-wifi-network-is-no-defense/ [arstechnica.com] http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/WiFi-Network-Shuttered-By-MPAA-ReOpens-105492 [dslreports.com]

            • by bmo (77928)

              1. Criminal. The RIAA cases are torts. There is a difference. Burden of proof is a lot less. Preponderence of the evidence versus beyond a reasonable doubt.
              2. Perez was in posession of a huge pile of child porn on CDs.
              3. If Perez *didn't* posess kiddie porn, and it was really a neighbor who was leeching and getting kiddie porn, all cases of the open wifi owner have shown that the open wifi owner was a *victim* of the third party who was committing the actual crime.

              Kiddie porn traffic coming from an I

  • by asylumx (881307) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:27PM (#42523485)
    Wait, so they are wiring up the city in an attempt to make it wireless? Genius!
  • by nimbius (983462) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:37PM (#42523609) Homepage

    Internet access will come free of advertising, aside from a provider message from Google, and not require any sort of password.

    and so began the great Pringles famine of Chelsea.

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      With lack of Pringles, the Hostess products going away, and limits on soda, the corner stores in Manhattan are going out of business. Think of the fat children!

      • by Sulphur (1548251)

        With lack of Pringles, the Hostess products going away, and limits on soda, the corner stores in Manhattan are going out of business. Think of the fat children!

        Little Debbie for the win.

  • Tracking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by systemidx (2708649) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @04:55PM (#42523865)
    While it says that it will come free from advertising, it DOESN'T say that you won't be monitored while connected. I'm certain they will recoup costs this way. Nothing is ever free.
    • Re:Tracking (Score:4, Informative)

      by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @05:19PM (#42524161)

      While it says that it will come free from advertising, it DOESN'T say that you won't be monitored while connected. I'm certain they will recoup costs this way. Nothing is ever free.

      Encrypt your communications, no reason you shouldn't whenever you use wireless, free or otherwise.

  • How about wireless access for a lower income area of the city instead of one of its wealthiest? Most of the companies and residents in the area can afford high speed connections, so why not open up other neighborhoods like Upper Manhattan to neighborhood investment and in the interest of helping kids in low income areas gain access to broadband services for free?
    • by cjc25 (1961486)
      Practical reasons: Google's NYC office is a full block between 15th and 16th St and 8th and 9th Ave, in the north-east part of the coverage area. They probably are reusing some of the network infrastructure they built out already to support that office.
    • by russotto (537200)

      How about wireless access for a lower income area of the city instead of one of its wealthiest?

      Allow me to direct you to the Robert Fulton Houses, located between 16th and 19th and Ninth and Tenth. These fine establishments are run by the New York City Housing Authority for the benefit of New York's poorest citizens (and meanest pit bulls). In short, they are projects. So, poor people: covered.

  • by undeadbill (2490070) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @06:13PM (#42524821)

    My father in law has a Google wireless node outside of his house in Mountain View. He pays for DSL, because he hasn't found the signal to be strong enough, and the service hasn't been reliable or robust enough when he could get signal. Yes, he tried setting up a repeater, but that only got him the latter results. :\

    I guess ya gets what ya pays for.

    • by sdriver (126467)

      Sounds like he has had much better results then I do with Google's wireless in Mountain View.

      I've lived at 3 different places in Mountain View, Google's free wifi is complete garbage.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @06:56PM (#42525319) Homepage

    Let's see... they are sharing the cost with some neighborhood group but you can bet that Google will receive 100% of the market research data, tracking data and web advertising benefits from this. All the while the people are using this thinking that it is a free service given to them gratis out of the goodness of a multibillion dollar giant.

    Right.

    Google has found a way to monetize the Internet in interesting ways that either haven't occurred to others yet or aren't available to others because they do not have the market reach. This allows them to give valuable stuff away apparently for free while all the time raking in huge amounts of money. Some disclosure might be nice here - like how much Google will make the first year of doing this. If this information became public it might inspire other companies to do likewise until everyone had their fill of apparently free stuff with huge hidden costs in privacy and tracking. Rolling out a city or two a year isn't going to show people the real downside to this tactic.

  • Why does it cost so little to build, and yet so much (relatively) to maintain? Just over 100K to built, and almost 50K annually to maintain?
    • by bjwest (14070)

      Why does it cost so little to build, and yet so much (relatively) to maintain? Just over 100K to built, and almost 50K annually to maintain?

      Probably, because it will take a few people a couple of months to install, and one or two permanent maintainers who have to be paid a yearly salary. Even with only one, however, $50,000 a year is way under what I think it will actually cost unless they duel or tri purpose the maintainer and dived his salary between projects. Once up and running, the only thing to do will be replace/reboot a transceiver every now and then, and they'd be fools to not have at least a 1% to 2% stock of spares.

  • So this will be a free (as in beer) and anonymous WiFi? I wonder how there are going to cope with abuses.
    • by bjwest (14070)

      So this will be a free (as in beer) and anonymous WiFi? I wonder how there are going to cope with abuses.

      A buttload of cameras and IP triangulation via the devices MAC?

      Come on guy, do you not watch CSI/NCIS? With that much RF bouncing around, it wouldn't surprise me if they could identify you by your dental records.

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