AT&T expands solar mobile charging initiative in New York City

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U.S. telecommunications giant AT&T will nearly double the number of photovoltaic mobile charging stations available in outdoor locations throughout New York City’s five boroughs this summer.

Beginning this week, mobile phone and tablet owners can charge their devices for free at one of the AT&T Street Charge units in parks, beaches and outdoor areas. After kicking off at the World’s Fair Anniversary event in Queens on Sunday, AT&T will deploy the units to more locations citywide throughout the summer.

"AT&T Street Charge grew out of a need for a sustainable power source during Superstorm Sandy [in 2012] and took on a life of its own when we deployed more than two dozen solar-powered units around the city last summer,” said Marissa Shorenstein, AT&T’s New York State president. “We’re excited to expand the program this year to more locations for longer periods of time so that anyone who needs a charge on the go can find one."

Robert Garafola, NYC Parks deputy commissioner for Management, Budget and Public Programs, added: "We are pleased to be working with AT&T again this year to provide Street Charge stations in many parks throughout the city. 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. New Yorkers will now be able to stay charged and extend their visits to some of the City’s most scenic spaces."

Pointing out that user response to the Street Charge stations was overwhelmingly positive last year, AT&T said it had made additional upgrades to the new units in order to make them more weather resistant and able to withstand higher usage.

AT&T Street Charge units work day or night, in sun or shade. During the day, three monocrystaline solar panels charge up powerful internal batteries, enabling the stations to quickly power up phones, tablets and other devices even when the sun isn’t shining.

"Staying connected and being fully charged are essentials in our fast paced lives," said Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York. "These environmentally forward solar chargers are a great amenity for the residents, workers and visitors in Lower Manhattan."

In addition to its AT&T Street Charge initiative, AT&T also offers free Wi-Fi in more than 25 New York City parks and at more than 36 subway platforms.