AT&T, second wireless carrier behind Verizon, plans to expand its Wi-Fi access around Times Square and the San Francisco waterfront. They also plan to expand in the upcoming days around Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. This comes in addition to a separate announcement AT&T made on Monday to expand to central Maine.
Wi-Fi, a trademark of the Wi-Fi alliance, allows enabled devices to connect to the Internet when within range of a connected wireless network.
Hotzones serve to enhance the broadband experience for AT&T’s customers that use Wi-Fi enabled devices. Customers can expect to stay connected in a way that is fast and reliable. They can also expect more data network capacity–even in high traffic areas. AT&T currently has customers in 22 states using their telephone, internet, and computer telephone services.
Hotspots, or interconnected access points, cover the area that is the size of just a few rooms. In spite of this, they can be expanded to provide coverage over numerous square miles, depending on the number of access points with overlapping coverage.
According to International Business Times, AT&T expanded their Wi-Fi coverage to New York City’s Times Square, downtown Charlotte, NC, and Chicago’s Wrigleyville earlier this year. This was part of a pilot project to use Wi-Fi to supplement mobile broadband in urban areas that use mobile broadband the most. In just a few months, customers made over 350,000 connections on three hotzones.
AT&T, which claims to operate the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network (based on company-branded and operated hotspots), currently handles over 23,000 hotspots in the United States. It also handles over 125,000 hotspots globally through roaming agreements. The company also currently is responsible for 106.9 million Wi-Fi connections on its network, a figure which greatly exceeds the 85.5 million connections made during the entirety of 2009.