Google Provides Free WiFi To Area Of Manhattan That Doesn’t Exactly Need It

Because it’s hard to pay $60/month for Internet access when you’re already shelling out $3,000/month for your one-bedroom apartment, the charitable folks at Google have decided to bring free WiFi to Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood.

“New York is determined to become the world’s leading digital city, and universal access to high-speed Internet is one of the core building blocks of that vision,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who probably thinks that the mere millionaires in Chelsea are truly struggling to get online. “Free WiFi across this part of Chelsea takes us another step closer to that goal.”

Of course, Chelsea also happens to be where Google has its mammoth NYC office, so this is really just the company giving back to the community.

Google will pay for two-thirds of the costs ($115,000 to build; $45,000/year to maintain) the network, with Chelsea Improvement Co., a nonprofit neighborhood development group, footing the bill for the rest.

While it’s really nice of Google to pony up for free WiFi anywhere, we’re thinking maybe it should have done this in an area where the overwhelming number of residents can’t already easily afford Internet access. We fail to see how this is part of the city’s “job growth engine,” as Senator Chuck Schumer called it, when there are parts of New York that could truly use open access to the Internet.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.