NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Google is now providing free wireless Internet access in Chelsea, making it the largest public outdoor network in the city.

Google said Tuesday that, among other things, the network will be available in all of the outdoor areas of the public Fulton Houses. It also will cover several public schools.

The Wi-Fi zone covers Gansevoort Street and 19th Street from Eighth Avenue to the West Side Highway, including the Chelsea Triangle, 14th Street Park and Gansevoort Plaza.

“It’s free. It’s a good thing,” said one 18-year-old who has been using the service for the past few days. “We all take it, you know. Without it, we wouldn’t even have any patches at all to even rely on.”

Another man, “Alex,” said Internet access should be available to everyone.

“I think that that actually levels the inequality in our country, is who has access to Internet, who will have access to Internet, and who doesn’t,” he said.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said Chelsea Wi-Fi will be a “great resource” for the neighborhood.

“Free Wi-Fi across all southwest Chelsea takes us another step forward in groundbreaking fashion and this neighborhood can now claim to be the first in Manhattan with totally free outdoor Wi-Fi and that’s great for New Yorkers who live, work, or go to school in Chelsea,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday.

The move is expected to attract high-tech businesses and expand New York’s “Silicon Alley.”

Google’s offices are located in the area.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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