Straphangers should now be able to tap into cellphone service and Wi-Fi at most underground subway stations in the city.
The cellphone launch, which includes coverage from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless, is one year ahead of schedule. The Wi-Fi installation was completed two years early.
“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,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday in a statement. “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.”
The MTA entered into a 27-year partnership with Transit Wireless on the $300 million project that was installed without any additional costs to city taxpayers or straphangers, the governor's office said.
- 120 miles of fiber optic cables to transport signals between stations and base station hotels data centers
- Five large base station hotels to aggregate all communication signals, then connect into wireless carrier and NYCT networks
- 4,000 antenna connection points
- 5,000 Wi-Fi access points
- 3,000-plus Help Point terminals
"As of Monday, our customers can text or call from our underground stations, staying in touch with their families, keeping up with work and staying connected,” New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim said. “That’s a major step forward for the MTA, and for our customers."
"Commuting and connectivity shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, and the MTA recognizes that," Natalie Grybauskas, spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, told Metro. "We're pleased that our city’s underground is becoming more internet-accessible for New Yorkers on the go."
Subway riders still won't have Wi-Fi or cell service when riding between stations, however.
Service is live in nearly every underground station in the MTA’s system. Clark Street on the 2 and 3 lines in Brooklyn will be the last to go live on Monday. South Ferry in Lower Manhattan is currently under renovation, and Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street and Bay Ridge are set to be revamped, so those stations will not be online until construction is completed.
The underground initiative also includes high-tech security features, such as a public safety broadband network and more than 3,000 Help Point intercoms in 175 stations that allow instant access to 911 service and information.
The wireless, Wi-Fi and public safety measures began in 2011 with six stations in Chelsea and had a target completion date of 2018.