Friday, November 16, 2007

In Manhattan you won't get a free lunch, but you can enjoy Free WiFi

Some awesome news out of Manhattan today. CBS Corporation has announced today that it will "light up" midtown Manhattan with the creation of the "CBS Mobile Zone," a wireless high-speed network enabling New Yorkers with Wi-Fi-enabled cell phones, laptops or other devices to access the Internet for free, and make voice over internet (VoIP) calls.

The zone will be from Times Square to Central Park South and from 6th Avenue to 8th Avenue and is a test in partnership with the MTA.

You might be asking what CBS gets out of the deal - ad impressions! New Yorkers who access the "CBS Mobile Zone," will be greeted by an ad-supported homepage that includes hyperlocal content such as breaking local and national news, sports highlights, weather reports, music discovery, wallpapers, ringtones, maps, a social network and the ability to search for nearby restaurants, shops and entertainment complete with geographically- targeted community reviews. Citi and have signed on to be early sponsors of the Wi-Fi HotZone.

"This is another example of how the assets of CBS Outdoor are enhanced by new technologies," said Wally Kelly, Chairman and CEO of CBS Outdoor. "What better way to show we are committed to turning our Outdoor assets
into next-generation interactive platforms than providing free Wi-Fi service in what is arguably the busiest stretch of real estate in the world. This offering will allow us to evaluate the prospect of applying Wi-Fi capabilities across our Outdoor properties globally."

They are also giving routers to local businesses in the Mobile Zone to enhance the signals. I wonder what the signal will be like on New Year's Eve! Just how many connections can this system handle was not disclosed.

Many of the companies covered on CN are included in the Homepage including: Tropos, BIG, Fon, Ning, Goowy, Veoh, Yelp, 1020, Aptilo and Can-Do Entertainment.

Allen Stern
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