Good news for AT&T and Usenet newsgroup subscribers who hang around Times Square often, as the carrier has confirmed that it would be launching its first-ever outdoor Wi-Fi hotspot in Times Square. The hotspot will give anybody with an iPhone or AT&T smartphone unlimited online use as part of this pilot project.
Instead of thousands and thousands of people simultaneously accessing the gigs of data on Usenet over AT&T’s bruised, congested cellular network, they can use free Wi-Fi, offloading traffic and reducing the strain on the network thousands of other people are trying to make phone calls over. The company acknowledged that the network was primarily there to offset the burden on AT&T’s 3G service in New York City, which even after a deliberate upgrade plan has been oversaturated primarily by the sheer amount of use from iPhone owners. Key cities such as San Francisco have also been overwhelmed by usage to this day and, while slightly improved, may be prime candidates for the next stages of the pilot.
“With this pilot AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone, we’re examining new ways to combine our Wi-Fi and 3G networks to help ensure that AT&T customers in Times Square always have a fast mobile broadband connection to do what matters most to them,” said John Donovan, AT&T chief technology officer, in a statement.
AT&T currently offers Wi-Fi at over 20,000 locations and reports 53.1 million Wi-Fi connections on its network in the first quarter alone.