Downtown Alliance Announces Major Expansion Of Lower Manhattan’s Public Wi-Fi Network

09/23/2015
Downtown Alliance Announces Major Expansion Of Lower Manhattan’s Public Wi-Fi Network

The Alliance for Downtown New York announced more than one million square feet have been added to its free Wi-Fi network, bringing plans to provide access for the entire Lower Broadway corridor halfway to completion. In total, the Alliance now provides more than 3.7 million square feet of coverage throughout the district. The most recent addition to the network provides uninterrupted service on Broadway from the Battery to Trinity Church. The free Wi-Fi network is currently utilized by hundreds of thousands of individuals each year in one of the city’s most heavily trafficked districts.

“The Alliance’s free wireless network has enabled countless people to connect,” said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin. “Whether looking for a great restaurant in the district, checking an email or sending Lower Manhattan photos to friends, we have provided the Wi-Fi people have needed. Now, as we see the growth of activity continuing in the district, we are excited to also provide a growth to our Wi-Fi service.” Use of Lower Manhattan’s Wi-Fi service has grown steadily since it was first initiated in 2003. In 2010, 100,000 devices connected to the network. This grew to 235,000 devices in 2012 and 377,000 last year. Through July of this year, the network had already reached 273,000 devices, putting it on track for reaching even higher record levels of use by the end of the year. Last month alone, more than 80,000 devices connected, an 84% increase as compared to the same time last year.

The expansion was made possible in large part thanks to a partnership with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (WilmerHale,) a leading international law firm with its New York office in Lower Manhattan. In 2012, WilmerHale became an official sponsor of the Downtown Alliance and a co-presenting sponsor of the Alliance’s free Wi-Fi network. The firm has been a long-standing supporter of Lower Manhattan’s revitalization and economic growth and was the first major law firm to move from Midtown to Lower Manhattan following 9/11. “We are proud to be a continued sponsor and supporter of the Downtown Alliance and its delivery of complimentary free Wi-Fi to the community,” said Charles Platt, partner-in-charge of WilmerHale New York office. “The free Wi-Fi program not only makes working, visiting and living in this area more convenient, efficient and enjoyable, but it has helped to enhance the entrepreneurial spirit of downtown, and truly highlights Lower Manhattan’s appeal as a destination for businesses of many kinds.”

In its effort to continually seek out innovative technologies to improve and augment its existing network of service, the Alliance is exploring how to utilize the solar power capabilities of its Big Belly smart refuse and recycling bins. The bins have recently been tested in a small scale pilot program to bring power to existing network access points. While powering access points in this fashion limits their effectiveness late in the evening and times of decreased sunlight, this new approach could dramatically augment the capabilities of the current network seasonally and strengthen connections between existing hotspots throughout the district. The Alliance is presently contemplating expanding its research into this promising approach.

When the Downtown Alliance first launched its Wi-Fi network in 2003, it was the city’s most extensive free, public Wi-Fi initiative. Use of the Downtown Alliance network is free for all users. The network can be accessed at the following locations and more information about the network can be found at: http://www.downtownny.com/programs/free-public-wifi.