Blanketing New York and SF with Free Wi-Fi: Sign of the Times

This is a sign of what will be coming our way soon. They are blanketing  huge swaths of New York City with free Wi-fi. How soon until everywhere there are people, there will be free Wi-fi.

AT&T has a New Year’s present for any customers planning on spending the evening in New York’s Times Square or San Francisco’s Embarcadero: Huge tracts of free Wi-Fi. This is from’s Gadget Lab.

“Maybe that will make up for the company’s famously spotty 3G coverage in these busy urban areas.

AT&T announced Tuesday that it planned to expand a “Wi-Fi hotzone” it created in Times Square in May of this year. The “hotzone” is an extra-large area of Wi-Fi coverage, served by multiple routers, which is free for AT&T customers to use with any 802.11b/g compatible device. The new coverage area now includes the north central part of Times Square, extending along 7th Avenue, east along 46th Street, and along Broadway.

The company will also add hotzones near New York’s Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the coming days. It also plans to create a hotzone in San Francisco’s Embarcadero Center, an office building complex near the city’s waterfront, although it’s unclear from the announcement when this service area will turn on.

You won’t be able to make calls using Wi-Fi unless you’re using a VoIP app like Skype — so if you’re an iPhone user, don’t expect these hotzones to solve your dropped-calls problem. However, you will be able to browse the web, check e-mail, post Twitter updates, and post increasingly blurry photos of your New Year’s Eve revelries via apps like Instagram.”