Who needs Santa when the New York Public Library is giving out free Wi-Fi?
Starting later this month, residents of New York City will be able to check out portable wireless Internet hubs from their local branch, and bring them home. The program, dubbed "Check Out the Internet" aims to bring municipal Wi-Fi to 2.5 million city residents in all five boroughs who don't have Internet access at home, The Wall Street journal reports. The New York Public Library found that 55 percent of patrons who use the Internet do so because they do not have access at home. Now, branches of the New York Public Library, Queens Library, and Brooklyn Public Library will be offering approximately 10,000 Wi-Fi units to help close that digital divide.
Who is to thank for this unexpected cyber stocking stuffer? Google Inc. and the Knight Foundation have supported the program with donations, and the hubs will be powered by Sprint. This program is the latest in a series of efforts to make Wi-Fi more available to city dwellers, following the conversion of thousands of pay phones into Wi-Fi hot spots. In New York, it almost seems you can take a little piece of the Internet with you wherever you may go.