Free WiFi in New York a casualty of economy

Free WiFi service in New York City parks quietly went dark in October as the vendor, WiFi Salon, was hit by a lack of financing. WiFi Salon won the contract from the city's Department of Parks and Recreation in 2004 to deploy WiFi in 10 parks in four boroughs, including Central Park.

"We didn't have the sponsor to pay to continue the network. It was too costly," said Marshall Brown, WiFi Salon's founder told Crain's New York Business. "It is tough to find the means to build it out when the city is in budgetary straits, and Wall Street has evaporated." Brown said it would have taken $400,000 to $500,000 to maintain the networks.

In a statement, the Department of Parks and Recreation said the city will unveil shortly "a series of digital inclusion initiatives focused on expanding access to, and adoption of, broadband technology, including service in parks across the city."

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