Cable operators Time Warner and Cablevision agreed to spend $10 million to offer WiFi service in 32 New York area parks as part of a deal with the city to give them a 10-year renewal of the companies' cable-television franchises.
Here's the kicker: Anyone can use the WiFi networks for free but only up to three 10-minute sessions a month and then it costs 99 cents a day to access WiFi.
Of course, broadband advocates are upset over the fact that the two companies are charging people to use WiFi, especially as WiFi is increasingly becoming free in public places. City officials, however, said they were still working out the details of how the WiFi service will operate.
In addition to WiFi, the cable companies agreed to provide more than $30 million in new upgrades to the city's communications infrastructure and to increase the number of Public, Educational and Government (PEG) Channels available on their systems. Time Warner will also set up 40 community broadband access centers in local neighborhoods, and Cablevision will work with the Department of Education to establish media centers in schools.
- see this New York Daily News article
Starbucks to offer free WiFi service
McDonald's jumps on free WiFi bandwagon
Time Warner Cable offers free WiFi to NYC customers via Cablevision's network