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AT&T and city officials recently unveiled a solar power charging station pilot program that will allow residents to charge their mobile devices throughout the city, including several areas in Queens.
The AT&T Street Charge initiative, announced June 18, will provide free solar-powered charging stations across the five boroughs where the public can charge their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, all as part of an ongoing effort to keep New Yorkers connected throughout the city.
AT&T teamed up with solar technology company Goal Zero and Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa to develop the initiative.
Between now and the end of summer, AT&T will deploy 25 charging stations across the city. To date, two stations are active at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, and units are live at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier I, Governor’s Island in Staten Island and Pier 1 at Riverside Park and Union Square Park in Manhattan.
Officials said Street Charge stations are heading to three areas in Queens, including Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Clearview Golf Course in Bayside and Rockaway Beach July 3.
Queens officials, including City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), said the charging stations that will be installed in Queens, especially Long Island City, will not only be convenient for residents, but will also be significant in the event of future storms, which could cause power outages.
“Cellphones are essential parts of our lives,” he said, “and these stations are convenient and could be vital if another blackout hits Queens.”
State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) echoed similar sentiments and called the program a major benefit to the Long Island City community.
“I think it’s a terrific service,” he said. “To be able to do that in a park while people are enjoying public space is tremendous to me.”
Officials said the charging stations work both during the day and at night, in sun or shade. During the day, three monocrystaline solar panels collect the sun’s energy to charge powerful internal batteries, which enable stations to power up phones, tablets and other devices quickly.
The stations, which are 12 feet high, will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and include adapters for micro USB-powered devices as well as iPhones, officials said.
New York State President of AT&T Marissa Shorenstein said two years ago the company introduced free Wi-Fi in 26 areas across city parks and last year became one of the first major carriers to offer underground cellular service on 36 subway platforms. To date, 28 city parks have free Wi-Fi.
Solar-powered charging stations, Shorenstein said, will provide a vital and easily accessible service for many across the city.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the new program will ensure improved connectivity and access to wireless technology, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, when mobile technology became even more important to residents throughout the city. New Yorkers were lined up at ATM machines in banks, which made power available to residents without power at home.
“After Hurricane Sandy, I asked our private sector partners to step up and help improve the resiliency of New York City,” he said. “AT&T is doing just that, and we’re grateful for their efforts.”
Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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