New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday announced the launch of the nation's largest continuous free public Wi-Fi in Harlem. "It will provide free, fast outdoor Internet connections for portable devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Bloomberg said in a press conference.

Harlem's wireless network will provide unlimited internet access at 2Mbps speed and will cover "nearly 100 blocks" of the suburb, which is effectively the area from 110th to 138th streets, between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Madison Avenue.

The network will be rolled out in three phases. The first phase, covering 110th to 120th streets, is already in the works and is scheduled for completion by the end of the month. Phase two and three, covering 121st to 126th and 127th to 138th streets, are scheduled to be completed by February and May next year respectively. Once completed, the network is expected to provide free on-the-go connectivity to approximately 80,000 Harlem residents.

To launch the Harlem Wi-Fi network, the city collaborated with the Harlem Children's zone and Sky Packets for advertising and implementation respectively, while funds for the project were provided through the Mayor's fund and donation from the Fuhrman Family Foundation.

The initiative is only the latest to improve wireless connectivity in the city. Back in October, Mayor Bloomberg announced new free public Wi-Fi networks across all five boroughs. In July last year, the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications turned payphones into free Wi-Fi hotspots.

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