Harlem Gets Wired: Free Public Wi-Fi to Launch Early Next Year

A Wall Street financier is footing the bill to keep the neighborhood connected

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The northern reaches of Manhattan will soon be home to the nation’s largest wi-fi network.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that the Harlem neighborhood will soon get a new outdoor public wi-fi network. But this is no single hotspot — the free wi-fi coverage will cover 95 city blocks, spanning from 110th Street to 138th Street. The network “will increase digital access for approximately 80,000 Harlem residents, including 13,000 public housing residents, as well as businesses and visitors in the area,” according to the mayor’s announcement.

The public network will be funded for the first five years through a grant from the non-profit Fuhrman Family Foundation, led by former Goldman Sachs executive Glenn Fuhrman. The first phase is already underway, and the mayor’s office said the entire network will be completed by May of next year.