Wi-Fi Salon said on its Web site in early December that it could not find sponsors to fund the free wireless access and is shutting down. The company began dismantling its networks, with little fanfare, last fall. Its owner said the state of the economy made it unlikely that it would be able to continue with its existing business model.
"We worked very hard for a very long time, and survived much, but the current downturn was one we could not weather, given our model," Wi-Fi Salon owner Marshall Brown said in a prepared statement. "We will all continue to do what we love best though, for community Wi-Fi will survive all this too."
Brown said that the company folded after working for six years to serve 18 locations throughout New York City, including 10 parks. The hotspots included seven locations in New York's Central Park. Wi-Fi Salon said that it plans to form a new company, Wired Towns, to try to restore Wi-Fi services through Business Improvement Districts, the Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses.
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation had contracted with Wi-Fi Salon to allow the company to install the networks for about $100,000. The city canceled the contract when the company failed to make a payment in early December.
Wireless hotspots still operate in other public areas, including several other parks, because other groups provide the service.