Commuters and residents rejoice.
Cellular and WiFi connectivity went live in New York City’s subway system on Monday, supporting service for all four major carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
According to a press release from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, the rollout of cellular service comes a full year ahead of schedule. The WiFi launch did even better, hitting the mark two years before it was promised, Cuomo noted. Work on the project began in 2011 and was scheduled for completion in 2018, he said.
Sprint’s Regional Network Vice President Mark Walker called the launch a “huge accomplishment,” and T-Mobile’s Senior Vice President of Engineering Tom Ellefson said the Un-carrier was “delighted” that its customers can now connect underground.
“By bringing Wi-Fi and cell service underground ahead of schedule, we are reimagining our subway stations to meet the needs of the next generation,” Cuomo said. “This will better connect New Yorkers who are on-the-go and build on our vision to reimagine the country’s busiest transportation network for the future.”
Cuomo reported the connectivity build included nearly all of the 281 underground subway stations, with the exception of four (South Ferry, Prospect Ave., 53rd Street, and Bay Ridge) which are or are about to be under renovation. Those stations will go live “immediately” after the renovation work wraps up, he said.
The work was done by Transit Wireless, which has a long-term agreement with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to design, build, operate, and maintain cellular and WiFi connectivity in the underground stations. Approximately 120 miles of fiber optic cables were installed to transport signals between stations and five base station hotels data centers used to connect into wireless carrier networks; 4,000 antenna connection points were installed; and 5,000 WiFi access points were mounted as part of the project.
The company invested more than $300 million in the project, and is sharing revenue derived through the network’s services with the MTA. The project was built at no cost to taxpayers or subway riders, the governor’s office said.
The connectivity project also includes deployment of a dedicated 4.9 GHz public safety broadband network and Help Point intercoms to provide instant access to E911 assistance. More than 3,000 Help Point intercoms have already been installed in 175 underground MTA stations.
Filed Under: Infrastructure