Brooklyn's DUMBO Neighborhood Debuts Free Wireless

By Tracey E. Schelmetic June 03, 2011

Let's face it: once upon a time, when people thought of cutting-edge New York City locales and trends, it was seldom Brooklyn that came to mind. However, when it comes to free neighborhood wireless Internet access, it looks like it's going to be Brooklyn first. In fact, a waterfront area of Brooklyn has become the first neighborhood in all of New York City to feature free wireless service on streets and in parks and plazas.

Reuters reports that the area, known somewhat whimsically as DUMBO (which is short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is gaining a reputation for innovative projects. Several formerly abandoned and neglected structures there have been transformed into eco-friendly offices and apartment buildings.

“We are encouraging people to step out of their offices and homes and engage with one another and the neighborhood in new and different ways,” Alexandria Sica, the executive director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District (BID), told Reuters.

“Creativity can literally flow into the streets. Businesses will be born in Brooklyn Bridge Park,” she said.

The DUMBO wireless project is being carried out jointly by BID, NYCwireless, which is a nonprofit organization that helps install free wireless service, and property broker Two Trees Management Co., Ltd. Two Trees reportedly spent about $65,000 on antennas and other equipment, which was then installed by NYCwireless, creating hot spots in several places around the area, reported the New York Times.

“I’m very hopeful that this is the first of what will be a number of these types of projects,” Dana Spiegel, executive director of NYCwireless, told the NY Times.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that he had high hopes for the area beyond just the wireless connectivity.

“One day, mark my words, this area will rival Silicon Valley in terms of high tech ingenuity,” said Markowitz in a statement. “It's only natural that DUMBO is the first neighborhood to be truly connected 24/7.”

The DUMBO neighborhood is well known to tourists and locals who visit the neighborhood after crossing the Manhattan Bridge.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

TechZone360 Contributor

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