AT&T Recently announced that they’ll be offering free WiFi access points in NYC’s Times Square, and potentially other locations. It’s an initiative to help releve data congestion on their cell network, which has long been plagued with slow data connections and unreliable voice service, due to a persistent network overload.
AT&T is really getting desperate here – they’re scrambling to put up wifi networks in order to ease congestion on their cell network. Seems like a half assed fix for a major problem. In public spaces, like Times Square, I’m usually somewhat reluctant to turn on wifi – I don’t walk around with it on, and don’t expect to have it in the street, so Inever even check. Additionally, AT&T’s hotspots require a (Free) account, so users can’t even just roam through and be on the wifi without realizing – they must go through the whole signup/login process. I belive that this measure will have limited impact simply because cell phone users won’t have the expectation or desire to get on the wifi network in the street. Wifi is best set up in settings where users expect it – homes, cafes, offices. Cell services is best for the streets. AT&T needs to truly improve their network, rather than try these stopgap fixes.