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Manhattan's Chelsea now completely Wi-Fi-enabled

Mayor Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer join Google to

Mayor Bloomberg and Chuck Schumer join Google to announce that Google and The Chelsea Improvement Company have partnered to provide free public Wi-Fi internet access in southwest Chelsea. (Jan. 8, 2013) Photo Credit: Edward Reed/Office of the Mayor

Chelsea's new status message: wired.

The neighborhood is now the first in the city to be completely Wi-Fi enabled, with free Internet access available to more than 7,000 residents and thousands of daily visitors, courtesy of a partnership between Google and the Chelsea Improvement Company.

Tech-savvy New Yorkers, naturally, took to social media once word about the free Internet spread.

"That's awesome that Google gave the Chelsea neighborhood free wifi! Definitely bringing my Nexus to read while sitting on the High Line," Franklin Bonilla tweeted.

Administrators for the Chelsea Improvement Company, the local business improvement district, said they had been working with Google, which has offices in the neighborhood, to see if they could use their technology to bring the community into the 21st century.

The tech giant jumped on board to meet their request, according to Dan Biederman, president of the Chelsea Improvement Company.

The Wi-Fi area is between Gansevoort and 19th streets and Eighth Avenue and the West Side Highway. Visitors who frequent the public spaces in the area, such as the Chelsea Triangle, the 14th Street Park and Gansevoort Plaza, also will have access.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the system will bring better Internet access to city residents and "help us stay as one of the leaders of the tech industry."

City officials said money is an issue in bringing Wi-Fi to more neighborhoods.

It cost $149,000 to install the Chelsea system and $51,000 a month to maintain the network. Google pays for two-thirds of the cost, while the Chelsea Improvement Company covers the rest for the network's two-year contract.

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