ATandT Expands WiFi Hotzones Program in NYC, San Francisco
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.