AT&T adds hotzone on Sixth Street

Sixth Street

Sixth Street in downtown Austin, Texas.

Dallas-based AT&T Inc. (T) announced that the mobile carrier is launching a Wi-Fi “hotzone” in Austin on the popular downtown nightlife area of Sixth Street. The offering is the company’s fifth major hotzone, with other venues at Times Square in New York City, Wrigleyville in Chicago, the Embarcadero Center in San Francisco and the downtown area of Charlotte, N.C.

AT&T said the hotzone will allow Wi-Fi from the 100 block to the 600 block of Sixth Street, located between Congress Avenue and Interstate 35. The company said the hotzone will provide a greater level of Wi-Fi coverage, giving AT&T users a faster wireless connection and increased data speeds.

The zone will allow AT&T to offload wireless congestion by shifting data usage off the cell phone network and onto the company’s Wi-FI connections. The zone was actually created on a temporary basis earlier this year for South by Southwest (SXSW), when the major interactive, music and film festivals clogged the carrier’s network with the injection of thousands of users in downtown Austin.

The company reported that it had more than 120,000 connections to the temporary Wi-Fi zone since March, and the numbers convinced AT&T that the company should create a permanent hotzone in the region.

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Marc Speir