Brooklyn BP Eric Adams takes selfie to celebrate free wifi at Fulton Mall

April 17, 2014 From Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams
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The more than 100,000 daily visitors to Fulton Mall, one of the busiest retail strips in America, now have free WiFi thanks to a new program that will build and maintain a free public WiFi network in Downtown Brooklyn. As part of the project, free WiFi hotspots will also be provided to up to 100 small businesses and 1,000 residents in Downtown Brooklyn. The effort is being launched by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP); PTS in partnership with DAS Communications; Fon, a global WiFi network; and New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) to provide WiFi to the area bordered by Schermerhorn Street, Cadman Plaza West, Flatbush Avenue, and Tillary Street, along with select public spaces in the NYCHA Ingersoll and Whitman Houses. The Fulton Street corridor is the first section to go live as part of the program and to celebrate, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams posed for a “selfie” in Albee Square today with local business owners, shoppers, and college students that he then posted on Twitter. DBP is administering the WiFi network with funds it received as one of five winners of NYCEDC’s Wireless Corridor Challenge.

“With help from the City, PTS, DAS, and Fon to expand our public WiFi network, we’re ensuring that Downtown Brooklyn remains on the cutting edge and a place where everyone can access needed amenities,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed. “A strong WiFi network also allows Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle to continue to attract companies that are driving the innovation economy and foster tech firms looking for a neighborhood that caters to their business and quality of life needs.”

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“The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership will bring free public wireless access to an area serving thousands of people, providing both a service and savings to the businesses that create jobs and providing important amenities to the community,” said NYCEDC Executive Vice President Eric Gertler. “The free public wireless networks provided in neighborhoods across the five boroughs by the Wireless Corridor Challenge advance the City’s goal of equipping all New Yorkers with the tools they need to access opportunity in today’s economy.”

“The installation of free WiFi in the Fulton Mall signifies the necessary removal of barriers to communication and the free exchange of ideas,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This new hotspot, like the one in Fort Greene Park, facilitates the flow of information for Brooklynites of all backgrounds. I look forward to the day when we can provide such free WiFi service to all residents throughout our borough. As a proponent of all things that make One Brooklyn, I applaud the efforts of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Fon for bringing this service to Fulton Mall.” 

The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Fulton Area Business Alliance were also winners of the Wireless Corridor Challenge, meaning the available free WiFi network will extend all the way through the Brooklyn Cultural District along Fulton Street to Classon Avenue. 

“PTS, an established National Public Communications Company, is thrilled to expand its New York communication services by introducing WiFi to the Downtown Brooklyn community and businesses,” said PTSPresident Mike Zumbo. “PTS is about ‘connecting people when and where they need it the most;’ our company is built around providing communication solutions from WiFi to Small Cell technology. We are very excited to be working in partnership with DAS Communications and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership on this project and we look forward to continue our expansion of wireless services across the nation.”

Fon, the global WiFi network, is working with DBP and local businesses to distribute free routers and set up hotspots in stores and offices to add coverage in high traffic areas. These hotspots will take advantage of the infrastructure of the new free WiFi network and will utilize Fon’s new Merchant WiFi offering which enables businesses to connect with their customers, display a customized WiFi landing page and offer discounts and promotions. So far, the following businesses have taken advantage of this free service: Hair Heaven, Exclusive Eyewear, Brooklyn Martial Arts, Actors Fund Arts Center, Dining Room, Stur-Dee Health Foods, Wingstop, Lucille Roberts, and the New York Transit Museum. DBP and Fon are encouraging more businesses to sign up at www.downtownbrooklyn.fon.com. 

“Fon is about connecting communities and we’re thrilled to bring WiFi to this booming district,” said Carlton Bennett, VP of Business Development, Fon US. “The local businesses that we’ve given routers to thus far have reaped enormous benefits as some lacked a broadband connection to begin with and others could set up a free dedicated public signal for their customers. Others, like the Actor’s Fund Arts Center, have been able to use the free router to facilitate audience participation during performances.”

Fon will also give away 1,000 Foneras routers to residents in Downtown Brooklyn to round out coverage at the sidewalk level. The new Fonera combines classic Fon sharing features with new functionality using Facebook Connect in place of WiFi passwords. The new Fonera allows its owners to get free access to Fon’s 12m hotspots by splitting their WiFi signal in two: a private signal for owner use and a shared signal that is available for the owner’s guests and the rest of the Fon network. Residents can sign up for this service at www.downtownbrooklyn.fon.com.


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