Telecommunications giant AT&T plans to nearly double the number of solar mobile charging stations available in outdoor locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City this summer, including Central Park, Coney Island and Rockaway Beach.
Since the implementation of the program last year, AT&T made some additional upgrades to the enhanced and new units in order to make them more weather-resistant and able to withstand higher usage.
Beginning the week of May 19, anyone with a mobile phone or tablet can charge their device for free at one of the AT&T Street Charge units in parks, beaches and outdoor gathering spots.
"We are pleased to be working with AT&T again this year to provide Street Charge stations in many parks throughout the city," NYC Parks deputy commissioner for management, budget and public programs, Robert Garafola, said in a statement. "In this day and age, people are becoming more tech-savvy and dependent on their mobile devices for communication, information and entertainment. As the warm weather approaches and New Yorkers take to the outdoors, they will be able to utilize the AT&T charging stations along with public WiFi at many parks and beaches."
The units work day or night, in sun or shade. During the day, three monocrystaline solar panels collect the sun’s energy to charge up internal batteries. This enables the units to power up phones, tablets and other devices as quickly as a wall charger, even when the sun isn’t shining.
"We want New Yorkers to spend as much uninterrupted time in Central Park as possible during these wonderful summer months," Douglas Blonsky, president and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy, said in a statement. "AT&T’s innovative solar Street Charge units enable visitors to harness the power of the sun for their mobile phones without having to leave the park."
Street Charge is part of a larger effort by AT&T to keep New Yorkers connected to the Web. It complements the WiFi in the Parks initiative, whereby AT&T provides free WiFi to park goers, regardless of their provider, in more than 25 park locations across all five boroughs.
In addition, AT&T customers can connect to the mobile network on more than 36 subway platforms today and growing to many stations across the five boroughs in the coming years.
After kicking off at the World’s Fair Anniversary event, units will be deployed to more locations citywide throughout the summer, the company said.