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Following a recent pilot program, mobile network operator AT&T
announced plans to expand its deployment of the company’s Wi-Fi
hotzones to additional locations in major cities, starting with the
expansion of its existing Times Square Wi-Fi hotzone and new hotzones
near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. In
addition, AT&T said it plans to launch its next Wi-Fi hotzone in
San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center.

Earlier this year, AT&T deployed Wi-Fi hotzones in New York’s Times
Square, downtown Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago’s Wrigleyville as part of
its pilot project to explore using Wi-Fi to supplement mobile broadband
in urban areas with consistently high mobile broadband use. In just a
few months during the pilot, AT&T said its customers made more than
350,000 connections at the three hotzones.

“Our initial AT&T Wi-Fi hotzones have received great customer
response and supported high data traffic,” said John Donovan,
AT&T’s chief technology officer. “The pilot demonstrated the clear
benefits of having fast and readily-available Wi-Fi options for our
customers and our network, and so we have decided to deploy hotzones in
more locations.”

The larger Times Square hotzone will now cover the north central part
of Times Square along 7th Avenue, east along 46th Street, and along
Broadway. New hotzones near Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s
Cathedral are planned to launch in the coming days. Wi-Fi hotzones
provide a way for customers to stay connected from their mobile
devices, adding data network capacity in high traffic areas. AT&T
customers with qualifying wireless data, LaptopConnect and AT&T
High Speed Internet plans get unlimited access to the company’s
hotzones at no additional cost.

“We’re excited to start the next phase of our hotzone program with
additional Wi-Fi coverage areas in New York City and, soon, in San
Francisco,” said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president of AT&T’s
Wi-Fi services division. “AT&T Wi-Fi will be available across a
wider area for Manhattan residents, visitors and New Year’s Eve
revelers during the busy holiday season and beyond. Plus, San Francisco
residents are expected to soon be able to enjoy a Wi-Fi hotzone in the
Embarcadero Center area as they shop, dine and work.”

The popularity of Wi-Fi continues to grow as more and more consumers
adopt Wi-Fi enabled devices and experience the convenience and speed of
a Wi-Fi connection. In the third quarter 2010, AT&T handled 106.9
million Wi-Fi connections on its network, exceeding the total 85.5
million connections made during the entire year in 2009.