Even before a recent NY Times editorial called for increased availability for wireless Internet Service (Wi-Fi) in New York City, students of Professor John McMullen’s Monroe College Wireless Technology class were hard at work installing wireless Internet technology in a City park and businesses.
Last semester, Monroe students installed Wi-Fi in Stuyvesant Park in lower Manhattan, which was the first solar powered access in NYC, and at Java's Brewin' in Harlem. All wireless technology provided by these installations is free to the businesses and to the general public.
More recently, on Sunday, June 17th, a team of three Monroe College students, Kenley Allayne-Small, Ricardo Parke, and Peter Quitos, assisted by Rob Kelley of NYCwireless, installed wireless Internet connectivity at Coogan's Restaurant, on Broadway at 169th Street in Manhattan. “We’ve made installing Wi-Fi service a required part of the course,” said Professor McMullen, a Monroe Computer Information Systems faculty member. “Wherever possible, the installations are performed in lower income neighborhoods where Internet access is usually not readily available.
So the students benefit from the experience, but more importantly, they’re helping bridge the digital divide.” David Hunt, the owner of Coogan's, said that he was very satisfied with the performance of the Monroe students and the installation and is thrilled to have the technology available to his customers. Additionally, the close proximity of Coogan’s to New York-Presbyterian Hospital is key. This will allow the hospital’s medical personnel, visitors to the hospital, and local residents to connect to the free Internet access using laptop and handheld devices while enjoying lunch or dinner at Coogan’s. Cleverly, the Monroe students mounted the router high up so it provides coverage throughout the two Coogan’s dining rooms and large bar area.
The Coogan’s installation is not the only one in the works for these ambitious Monroe students. On Friday, June 16th, work was begun at a Day Care Center in Brooklyn by another group of students, Keisha Kendley, Carmen Luciano, and Dexter Hazel. Wireless Internet installations are also in progress at three Bronx eateries: Billy's Deli and Grille on Fordham Road, Dunkin' Donuts on Boston Post Road at Burke Avenue, and Subway on Jerome Avenue south of Fordham Road.
“It’s an extraordinary project,” said Vice President for Academics Dr. Stephen Waldow. “Not only is it vital for the City to broaden Wi-Fi access as in other large cities across the country, but actually doing this work renders our students fully job-ready when they graduate. Clearly, they can get the job done!” Monroe’s Wi-Fi project is supported by NYCwireless, a non-profit organization that advocates and enables the growth of free, public wireless Internet access, which not only has provided free hardware for the installations, but also encouragement and technical support where needed. A map of all NYC “hotspots”, including those set up by Monroe students may be found at www.auth.NYCwireless.net/hotspots_map.php. NYCwireless is at www.NYCwireless.net .