Thanks to a deal between the City, Time Warner, and Cablevision, 32 parks across the city will (finally) have free WiFi next year. Well, free for the first 30 minutes per month—you'll pay 99 cents each day to use it after that.
The Daily News' Juan Gonzalez reports that the details are more aggravating: users will get free WiFi "for up to three 10-minute sessions a month" before being prompted for payment. Know that feeling of trying to use WiFi in the airport and then you're prompted to sign up with BoingBang's network and enter your credit card number and good luck opening an attachment at this speed you were better off spending that $6 on a banana at the Starbucks? Now you can experience that in the park!
Also: what exactly gets done in a "10 minute session" on the internet? Just enough to check your email, not enough to draft a cogent reply. Not even close enough to locate that illegal stream of Expendables 2 through the vicious, metastasizing popups, let alone enjoy it.
The deal, which was presumably negotiated on a desolate stretch of Mississippi highway late at night, renews the companies' contract with the City for another 10 years, and requires them to pay for $30 million worth of upgrades to the City's communications infrastructure. Time Warner, whose $6.9 billion first-quarter revenues bested analysts predictions thanks to their ingenious strategy of Fuck It Let's Charge People More, will also set up 40 broadband access centers in neighborhoods. Cablevision will establish "media centers" in public schools.
"We think we've done a pretty good job in negotiating some pretty creative stuff in this franchise agreement," City spokesman Bruce Regal told the paper.
City Councilwoman Gale Brewer disagrees. "This sounds like a joke," she said. "There should be totally free wireless in the parks."
Agreed. If you're going to shatter the simple serenity in New York's public spaces with bigger, shinier screens, at least make it free.