By: Jeremy Schneider
I’ve worked at the Alliance for almost 14 years and have had many jobs. But my current one, as the Chief Technology Officer, is the most rewarding. The best part? Wi-Fi!
Today is World Wi-Fi Day, and it seems like a good opportunity to take stock of the Downtown Alliance’s free Wi-Fi network.
We started in 2003 with a few hotspots. Now, we provide more than 4.5 million square feet of coverage in Lower Manhattan. Our network (#DwtwnAllianceFreeWiFi) is free for anyone to use. It’s ad-free, too!
To help make this happen, I’ve trekked to some interesting, exciting and scary places. To cover the Elevated Acre with free Wi-Fi, I stood on a small parapet on the 15th floor. I started trembling — I am a tad scared of heights.
Despite this, I’ve probably climbed onto more parapets and rooftops in Lower Manhattan than almost anyone else. While I was making my way up the spire of Trinity Church, the bells started ringing right next to me. I swear my bones shook with the loud vibrations. I’ve clambered through the nooks and crannies of many buildings down here.
And I’ve loved every minute of it.
I’m really excited by our most recent expansion, completed last week, along Broadway from Barclay to Bowling Green. This is a very well-traveled area, and the added coverage will enable the more than 14 million tourists who visit Lower Manhattan each year to take advantage of our free Wi-Fi.
Today, Lower Manhattan has one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in New York City — and it’s still growing. Between 2004-2010, more than 270,000 devices connected to our network. In 2015 alone, more than half a million devices connected to it — a 47% increase over 2014. And in just the first five months of 2016, we had 24% more connections compared to the same period in 2015.
The most gratifying part for me is walking down the street and seeing people using their devices — sharing a great moment with friends or family or just figuring out where to go — thanks to the free Wi-Fi that I helped create.
Happy World Wi-Fi Day!