The Big Apple is going to get a bit of a belated Christmas present. And no, it has nothing to do with Apple, the tech company, but rather with Google, which has created the world’s largest free WiFi network at Google’s headquarters in the Chelsea district of New York City. It is just another movement that makes clear Google’s intentions of becoming an Internet provider.
Despite being linked directly to their facilities, and being intended primarily so workers who were eating or resting in the vicinity could still connect easily to work, the network can be used by many people, including Houlton resident, shops and businesses, and students. In the words of Ben Fried, Google’s Chief Information Officer, “Google is proud to provide free Wi-Fi in the neighborhood we have called home for over six years.”
Americans are more lucky than they know. Although it is perfectly legal for someone to offer free WiFi in the U.S., it is strictly illegal in parts of Europe, such as in the case of Spain. And, if you want to provide free Internet, you have to jump through all kinds of hoops with the government. If they end up giving you the go ahead, you can only provide 1 MB of data or less.
These restrictions are due to the European Internet providers who see free, public WiFi as a threat to their business model. However, many businesses and individuals are raising their voice against this law, stating that it hurts the economy by driving away tourists, and keeps Spain, and other similar countries, stuck in the past.