GovBytes: Is Free Wi-Fi The Extra Olive On The Salad?

We’ve all heard the story of the flight attendant who saved her airline $40,000 by recommending one less olive be used in every salad, right? It’s a question of optimization — the money saved outweighs the value the customer received from getting that one extra olive to enjoy.

These days, governments are dealing with the same kinds of issues as they figure out how to address budget deficits by cutting back on those programs and services that provide the least bang for the buck.

Or are they?

The staff of Government Technology writes that New York will now be offering free wi-fi in twenty public parks throughout the city.

Users of the new hotspots don’t have to be an AT&T customer to use them. There are no advertisements, and log-in registration isn’t required, Bloomberg said. Users must agree to terms of service.

“This is the first project of its type that we have done in any city across the United States,” Stephenson said.

New York City, AT&T Bringing Free Wi-Fi to Public Parks

The cost to the city is not mentioned in the article.

To me, there are two ways of looking at this announcement. One is that it represents an embrace of Gov 2.0 and a commitment to giving all NYC residents access to the internet. The other is that in these hard times when public servants are being asked to sacrifice to keep our governments afloat, the mayor of New York is rolling out a new, nonessential program.

What do you think? Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars?


“GovBytes” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with Government Technology. If you see great a story on Gov Tech and want to ask a question around it, please send it to [email protected].

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