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Free WiFi comes to NYC parks

Remember those missionaries who went to Africa to do good and did very well? Nokia shows us that one can do good and do well at the same time. The company is sponsoring free WiFi connection in 10 New York City parks in hot spots operated by New York start-up WiFi Salon. WiFi Salon will operate the hot spots under a concession agreement with the city which runs until October 2007, but which is renewable. It is not exactly that the announcement infuses new meaning into the adjective "long-awaited," but still, it has taken a long time: The project was originally announced in June 2003, and WiFi Salon was awarded the contract back in October 2004.

Nokia, eager to promote its WiFi-enabled devices, is helping sponsor the project and will use it to push its Nokia N80 and N91 multimedia smartphones and its 770 Internet Tablet. Park visitors who own one of Nokia's n-series phones will have access to a special portal which will provide contents such as the history of the park and the neighboring areas and other portal-specific contents, but also extol the virtues of Nokia products.

For more on the New York City parks WLANs:
- take a look at WiFi Salon's Web site
- and Nokia's press release (.pdf)
- read Sewell Chan's report at The New York Times

MORE: See this discussion of the mixed reactions of San Franciscans to the coming muni-WiFi system.

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