Google Offers, Boingo Wireless Outfit NYC Subways With Free WiFi

Pilot program for larger sponsor-driven wireless effort

Some folks get a little nutty when they lose their Internet connection, including New Yorkers stepping down into underground subway stations. Starting Monday some lucky New Yorkers will get to keep on streaming, as Google Offers is sponsoring more than 200 free Boingo Wireless-powered WiFi hotspots throughout New York City, including six subway stations, through Sept. 7.

Google Offers and Boingo Wireless will be plastering signs around the various hot spots giving consumers the heads up about the free WiFi. Among the stations hosting WiFi are the A/C/E station at 8th Avenue and 14th Street, the F/M station at 6th Avenue and 14th Street and the L station at 6th Avenue and 14th Street.

Once a consumer enables WiFi on their smartphone (or tablet or laptop) and picks the Boingo network, they’ll come across a branded landing page to connect with the option to subscribe to Google Offers.

To better customize its offerings, Google is splicing NYC into three regions, so those WiFi freeloaders who elect to sign up for Offers at one of the SoHo hotspots will receive NYC Downtown offers. Those near Madison Square Garden will receive NYC Midtown offers.

"Whether it's finding a great deal for a new restaurant or an outdoor adventure, Google Offers is all about helping people make the most of their city, while saving money. With free WiFi in subway stations and Boingo hotzones across Manhattan, people can easily browse the Internet or discover great deals from nearby businesses while they're on the go,” said a Google spokesperson.

The campaign is a brand-awareness play for Google, but Boingo is using it as a pilot to test out its sponsor-driven WiFi initiative. “The goal is, by time this runs out, to have another advertiser lined up,” said Christian Gunning, Boingo’s director of corporate communications. Subway riders in particular are a valuable demo for advertisers to target, he said, with more than 70 percent between the ages of 18 and 54 and more than 35 percent exceeding $75,000 in annual income.

In addition to the six subway stations participating in the Google Offers pilot, Boingo plans to add 30 more New York City hotspots by the end of the year and will be selling brands exclusive network-wide sponsorships, Gunning said.