New York Subway Stations With Wireless Service Climb to 36

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New York Subway Stations With Wireless Service Climb to 36

by Michelle Maisto

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MTA Wireless Effort Marks a Milestone

Fernando Ferrer, acting MTA chairman and a former Bronx mayor, was flanked by executives from Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Boingo Wireless as well as MTA Interim Executive Director Thomas Prendergast (at right) to announce that a total of 36 MTA stations now have wireless coverage, and Verizon Wireless and Sprint are joining the effort.

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If You See Something, Say Something in Real Time

Ferrer said that system will help first responders and enable subway users to call 911, in addition to allowing more of the 8.5 million New Yorkers who take the subway every day to talk, text, watch video or use interactive MTA apps to know where their train is in the system and whether there's a delay.

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Years in the Making

Transit Wireless CEO Bill Bayne emphasized the challenge of bringing modern technology to a "complex, 110-year-old system that's open 24/7." While other mass transit systems around the world already feature wireless, Bayne said, many close at 1 a.m., or were built more recently, with high ceilings leaving plenty of room for plastic piping to carry all the necessary equipment. One executive, during the Q&A session, described New York's subway as having been built "before technology was a word."

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Wiring a Wireless Solution

Here's one of the antenna hubs providing cellular service to MTA customers in the 42nd Street subway station.

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WiFi Here, Too

WiFi from Boingo Wireless is also in the stations and currently free, thanks to a sponsorship from smartphone maker HTC. (Photos courtesy of the MTA.)

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How to Find Out Which Stations Have Service

To find out which stations have wireless service, Transit Wireless has launched a new Website, The site also works on mobile devices.

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Group Effort

An announcement on the Transit Wireless site celebrated all the parties involved in the Phase 1 launch. "We sat down and said, 'How are we going to do this?'" said Bayne. "It came down to, we could not do it alone."

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What Does It Take to Connect the MTA's Customers?

Transit Wireless shared that the 277-station effort, slated for completion in 2017, will use 7,000 antennas, 5,000 access points and 125 miles of fiber.

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A Temporary Slowdown

The April 25 press conference was held in the 42nd Street Station, where the crowd around the event's speakers grew with curious tourists and commuters. As a mosaic in the station directly across from the press event depicts, New Yorkers like to take in what's going on.

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