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Today the City of New York and area cable operators announced they’re bringing WiFi to 32 parks across the five boroughs. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cablevision said on Monday that their Internet customers can roam across all three of their Wi-Fi networks in New York.

But these new hotspots are not free to the general public. They require users to be Cablevision Optimum Online, Comcast or Time Warner Cable broadband subscribers. The Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint program, introduced last year, has created an industry standard that streamlines network access and eliminates the need for users to find and authenticate a network each time they connect.

Subscribers who have the proper credentials will be able to connect gratis via any WiFi-enabled device for up to 30 minutes every 30 days, while non-subscribers can pay a fee of 99 cents per day.

The agreement includes a $10 million investment fund for Wi-Fi deployment in parks and public spaces.

Comcast says their public Wi-Fi hot spots are now in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta as part of the Cable Wi-Fi Alliance. Comcast and its CableWiFi Alliance partners say they have added tens of thousands of new access points. Xfinity WiFi is now available in nearly 3,800 hotspots in the District of Columbia.

Comcast recently launched a new home-based, neighborhood hot-spot initiative, in which subscribers will host Wi-Fi hot spots that other Comcast customers can use.

Comcast subscribers using their new wireless gateway can broadcast an additional Xfinity Wi-Fi signal which other Comcast customers can access.

GOWEX, another hotspot network in NYC, profits from advertising and by charging carriers for access to their data networks. They claim 1,953 free WiFi hotspots throughout Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Earlier 2013, Google announced a Free WiFi deployment for the citizens in Chelsea neighborhood. It offers free internet connection (with advertising), to 2.000 citizens and thousand visitors in the area.

Google sponsored Boingo Wi-Fi locations include 15 airports, such as New York’s John F. Kennedy, Chicago O’Hare and Seattle-Tacoma, Boingo-enabled Manhattan subway stations, and thousands of hotels, shopping malls, cafés and recreational areas. New York City’s Chelsea WiFi Network was designed and installed by Sky-Packets for Google. Sky-Packets also handled the Bryant Park WiFi upgrade last year using Meraki gear.

Boingo Wireless and Microsoft also sponsored free Wi-Fi access at high-traffic New York and San Francisco over the previous holiday season.

OpenWifiNYC.com says it has the most up-to-date guide of truly free and open wifi hotspots in New York City.

Free Wi-fi is not a pipe dream. It’s a right. Location-based ads may make it profitable.

Cable and cellular operators may feel the need to choke off the three WiFi channels on 2.4 GHz before Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and others offer truly “free”, ad-supported services.

“Free” competition is not in their mandate. Cable and cellular operators are not advertising companies. They’re more like duopolies.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Free WiFi: It’s a Right!, Cities of San Jose and Santa Clara Get Free WiFi, Free Google WiFi for NYC Chelsea Neighborhood, Time Warner Cable to Double WiFi Hotspots in 2013, AT&T: 40,000 Small Cells, Microsoft Sponsors Free WiFi in NYC & SF, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Hotspot 2.0, Cellular/WiFi Roaming Gets Real, Seattle’s Gigabit Fiber CityNet, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City, Sprint to use Light Radio for Small Cells, Street light Provides Wi-Fi, Cell Coverage, Hotspot 2.0,

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