City officials are hoping to find a way to get free WiFi back to city parks without bankrupting the companies offering the public service.
WiFi Salon provided free service for 17 hot spots and 11 city parks from 2004 until the company went out of business in December. The company used advertiser support to keep the service free. However, WiFi Salon paid a concession fee of $30,000 a year to the city, making for an sustainable business model.
The city is urging companies to come up with ways to turn a profit while still offering the service free to users, The New York Post reported.
The Department of Information and Technology and Telecommunications wants to put free WiFi in place at 40 hots spots in 32 parks and public spaces in all five boroughs.
City Councilwoman Gale Brewer was a huge proponent of installing the free WiFi several years ago. She doesn't believe advertising will provide enough money to pay for wireless availability.
"WiFi in the parks is a public service, and for a public service you need some kind of city support," Brewer told The Post.
Although the former WiFi Salon networks were turned off, free wireless remains in other parks and public spaces offered by other companies, including Bryant Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park and Battery City Park.