Google as Internet provider: Wi-Fi blankets Chelsea, NYC

Google is bringing free Wi-Fi to Chelsea, Manhattan as the search giant continues to push itself as a Internet provider, rather than just a Web company.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Google today announced the launch of free Wi-Fi in Chelsea, New York, which makes it the largest public outdoor network in the city, in a bid to encourage growth in the neighborhood by tech businesses. 

Not quite Google Fiber, but Chelsea, New York City will receive free Wi-Fi services in the neighborhood. Credit: Google

Students, residents, customers and tourists will be able to connect to the high-speed network in a bid to help the city's own so-called "Silicon Alley" to grow. Chelsea, an affluent neighborhood in Manhattan, is also home to Google's own New York headquarters. 

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Google chief technology officer Ben Fried, and representatives of the Chelsea Improvement Company announced the service in New York today. The free Wi-Fi will be made available to thousands of New Yorkers between Gansevoort Street and 19th Street, from 8th Avenue to the West Side Highway. 

"Google is proud to provide free Wi-Fi in the neighborhood we have called home for over 6 years. This network will not only be a resource for the 2000+ residents of the Fulton Houses, it will also serve the 5,000+ student population of Chelsea as well as the hundreds of workers, retail customers and tourists who visit our neighborhood every day," said Fried in a statement.

All in all, it's on the most part a carbon copy of what Google rolled out in Mountain View, CA, where the search giant has its worldwide headquarters. Tie this in with the Google Fiber project in Kansas City and you have a search giant not only running the services that you want when connected to the Internet but also running the actual connection you're hooked up to. 

It also makes in-roads to the possibility that the super-fast fiber offering could eventually make its way to New York City as the first non-testbed location outside of Kansas City, despite Google remaining adamant that today's move should not be seen as a precursor to bigger and better things.

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