Mentioned in an official blog post on the company site, Skype is setting up free Wi-Fi access many sections of New York City to celebrate the new year. Skype is partnering with Towerstream to accomplish this feat and will provide free Wi-Fi service to anyone in “Times Square, West Village, East Village, South Village, Greenwich Village, NoHo, SoHo, Lowe East Side, Clinton, Chelsea, Union Square, Midtown, Midtown South, Murray Hill, Stuyvesant Park and Turtle Bay” according to the post. The Wi-Fi service will be active for 24 hours from noon on December 31, 2011 to noon on January 1, 2012. Skype is also encouraging anyone celebrating on the streets of New York City to use the Skype video calling function to communicate with relatives, friends or loved ones at midnight.
Users of the free service should look for the ’Skype WiFi‘ hotspot under the list of possible Wi-Fi connections. If connecting on a computer, Skype recommend the latest version of the Skype software and iPhone or iPod Touch users will need to download the “Skype WiFi” app from the App Store as well. The company is also encouraging Skype users to use the hashtag #freeskypewifi when talking about the success or failure of using the free service when posting on Twitter. Assuming that Skype is successful in blanketing the busy city with free Wi-Fi service, the pressure on the networks of major cellular providers such as AT&T or Verizon should be reduced considerably when attempting to access 3G or 4G service during the celebration.
Earlier this month, Skype announced a similar free Wi-Fi service that provided Internet access at more than 50 airports based in the United States. The promotion lasted for a week between December 21 to December 27 and was designed to provide service to anyone traveling over the holidays. This service was open to anyone on a PC, Mac or iOS device, but anyone on an Android or Blackberry phone was exempt.