NEW YORK —Google Inc., the world’s biggest Internet-search company, plans to offer free wireless Internet access in parts of New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, creating the largest public outdoor network in the city.
The WiFi network, which doesn’t require a password, is available as of Tuesday, Google said in a statement. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials attended an event to announce the service in Chelsea, where Google has offices.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has been working with New York to foster a technology hotbed in the city. Last year it agreed to donate office space to Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for an engineering school while the institutions build a permanent home on Roosevelt Island.
“New York is determined to become the world’s leading digital city, and universal access to high-speed Internet is one of the core building blocks of that vision,” Bloomberg said at the Manhattan news conference. “Free Wi-Fi across this part of Chelsea takes us another step closer to that goal.”
Google also benefits from wider access to the Internet, which it uses to deliver services to customers and advertisers.
The new network is part of an effort to cultivate Silicon Alley, a concentration of startups in Manhattan. WiFi will be available to thousands of New Yorkers between Gansevoort Street and 19th Street from 8th Avenue to the West Side Highway, according to a statement.