AT&T announces Wi-Fi "Hotzones" in Charlotte, Chicago, to help data congestion

Last May, AT&T launched a project called "Hotzones" in New York City's Times Square aimed at fixing traffic problems by blanketing the area in Wi-Fi signals. Today, the carrier announced the project is coming to more cities, including Charlotte, North Carolina today and Chicago, Illinois in the coming weeks.

Over the last three years, AT&T says its mobile data traffic has grown by more than 5,000 percent, and in the most densely populated areas of the U.S., connectivity is often an issue. New York and San Francisco proved to be especially troublesome for the company's data network, and in 2009, AT&T Mobility's CEO Ralph de la Vega said they were "performing at levels below our standards," but that they were going to be fixed.

"Our first AT&T Wi-Fi hotzone in New York City has received praise from our customers, and we're excited to introduce this Wi-Fi solution in Charlotte," said Angie Wiskocil, senior vice president of AT&T Wi-Fi Services today. Last year, AT&T handled 15 million Wi-Fi connections to its network; in just the second quarter of 2010, that number was up to 68.1 million, the company said today.

The outdoor Wi-Fi hotzone in Charlotte provides coverage along South Brevard Street from the area around the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza to East Trade Street, and on the Lynx light rail, said AT&T. No details were provided about the scope of the Chicago Hotzone, but the company said it will launch in the approaching weeks.

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