Twenty-seventeen will be the year New Yorkers will remember as the year the NYC subway system got wired. As of January 9, practically all underground stations will have cell phone and Wi-Fi service. The mammoth project was rushed along by Governor Andrew Cuomo in early 2016, inspiring Transit Wireless and the MTA to really get things rolling.
“By bringing Wi-Fi and cell service underground ahead of schedule, we are re-imagining our subway stations to meet the needs of the next generation,” Cuomo said in a press release. “This will better connect New Yorkers who are on-the-go and build on our vision to re imagine the country’s busiest transportation network for the future.”
In order to shave two years off the projected time-line for the project, Transit Wireless spent “well over” $300 million to install the system and bring in cell coverage from all four carriers; AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.
Transit Wireless connected the first six underground stations in 2011 in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Now almost every single of the city’s 279 stations are connected, with the Clark Street station on the 2,3 line the last to connect. There are four stations under renovation which are not yet hooked up, but will come on-line immediately upon the completion of the renovations.
Connecting underground was far from child’s play. During the installation, Transit Wireless installed: 120 miles of fiber optic cables to transport signals between stations and base station hotel data centers; 4,000 antenna connection points; and 5,000 Wi-Fi access points.