Cuomo Announces Wireless Service in Queens and Manhattan Subway Stations

Oct. 17, 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Oct. 16 announced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transit Wireless’ completion of a major expansion of wireless and Wi-Fi service in subway stations, extending underground connectivity to 11 new Manhattan stations and 29 more in Queens, and connecting a total 47 million riders monthly. The completion of Phases I and II are part of seven phases to wire all 277 underground stations by 2017, and work has already begun to bring another 39 stations online by spring 2015.

"Adding and improving wireless service at more subway stations provides a much-anticipated boost to riders’ experience in one of the world’s busiest and oldest subway systems, while offering an added level of security," Governor Cuomo said. "A more stable network below ground ensures that riders and first responders can seamlessly communicate in events of emergency, which is essential in a system that carries millions of passengers every day."

Phase II of the wireless and Wi-Fi network build-out covers 29 underground stations in Queens and 11 in Manhattan, including major hubs such as the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue Station, Jamaica Center Station, Court Square Station, 42 Street Bryant Park Station, 34 Street Herald Square Station and Grand Central 42 Street Station. The first 36 Midtown Manhattan underground stations were connected just 18 months ago.

The announcement was made by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transit Wireless at the Court Square Subway Station in Long Island City, Queens, with Transit Wireless’ partner wireless agencies, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon Wireless, and also Royal Caribbean International, which is providing complementary Wi-Fi to riders.

Phase III of the project will include the Flushing Main Street Station in Queens, as well as stations in Lower Manhattan, West Harlem and Washington Heights. Major stations in Phase III include the Fulton Street Station, 125 Street Station and the new 34 Street 7 Station when it opens next year.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Thomas F. Prendergast said, "Bringing wireless service into our subway system is the latest milestone in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s effort to use technology to improve the service we provide for our customers. Whether you’re checking your email, calling your kids or looking for emergency assistance, wireless service will bring the conveniences we’re used to above ground into the subway system."

New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco said, "Enhancing the customer experience through connectivity, our Help Point Intercoms, On-the-Go Screens and next train arrival information while bringing in added revenue to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is a win-win for everyone. Today we add Queens to the fold and I look forward to bringing stations in the Bronx and Brooklyn online in the near future."

Transit Wireless CEO William A. Bayne said, "The wireless connectivity provided by the four major U.S. carriers is the core of our network and ensures everyone can have connectivity and access as we roll-out stations in Queens and expand coverage underground. We are pleased to announce our new Wi-Fi service Transit Wireless Wi-Fi to Metropolitan Transportation Authority customers and special thanks to our first sponsor, Royal Caribbean International. We are able to provide complimentary Wi-Fi as part of our Phase II launch in Queens and Manhattan and expand wireless service and public safety access like E911 to millions of riders."

AT&T Assistant Vice President for its New York network Jim Hormann said, "Expanding AT&T’s wireless service to these subway platforms is the next phase of our ongoing effort to provide our customers with the fastest and most reliable wireless service in New York City, including 4G LTE, at subway stations across New York City."

T-Mobile Area Director for Engineering Salim Kouidri said, "As we continue to enhance and grow our above-ground LTE network for our customers, the work going into expanding cellular coverage in New York subway stations is also important to us. With the additional phases of the build-out underway, millions of T-Mobile riders will be able to take advantage of the many benefits of being able to connect underground."

Sprint Director of Business Sales Mike Wodzisz said, "Expanding our network to New York’s vast underground subway system is an important step in improving the travel experience for all consumers. We look forward to not only directly impacting Sprint customers through expanded service underground, but also indirectly impacting all Metropolitan Transportation Authority customers by connecting the various public safety representatives, first responders and city workers that keep New York City running."

Verizon Wireless New York Network Executive Director Michele White said, "The addition of Verizon Wireless voice and data services to the Queens subway stations is another way in which we keep our customers connected to the people, places and things that matter to them. As the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE Network, we have invested more than $4.5 billion across the New York Metropolitan Region since 2000, and we are committed to providing our customers with the best possible wireless experience, whether they are above ground or below."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transit Wireless have continued to partner together on multiple initiatives including the deployment of Help Point Intercoms. Designed to be both highly visible and easy-to use, these instant communications devices offer immediate access to assistance and information with the touch of a button. Created specifically for the subway environment, the Help Point Intercom is designed to be an easily recognizable communications tool for customers who need to either report an emergency or ask for travel directions. The units are easy to spot with a bright blue beacon light that will pulse when the unit is in action. This feature will help alert first responders in case there is an injured or sick customer at that location.

As the network continues to expand and offer cellular and Transit Wireless Wi-Fi connectivity underground, one of the most important benefits for customers is the ability to make E911 calls when needed. The network enables emergency dispatchers to know if a call is being placed from below ground and the approximate location of the caller. The network will also give Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees and first responders enhanced communications capability in an emergency. Another benefit of this wireless service is that it allows the thousands of underground business owners and contractors to stay connected in a way that they have never been able to before. This network continues to enhance life in the city that never sleeps by enabling residents and visitors alike to be better connected and safer while underground.

A true technology innovator, Royal Caribbean International is bringing complimentary Wi-Fi service to subway riders as it prepares to welcome the world’s first smartship, Quantum of the Seas, to the New York area this November. Boasting "boatloads of bandwidth," the highly anticipated new ship will operate with unprecedented broadband connectivity matching speeds on land and allowing guests to watch streaming video, check email, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations – even in the middle of the ocean.

Royal Caribbean International Vice President Jeff Dekorte said, "It’s a wired world, and New Yorkers expect to stay connected wherever they are, be it below ground or miles out at sea. It was a natural fit for us to partner with the MTA and Transit Wireless to bring complimentary Wi-Fi to the city’s millions of daily commuters, particularly as we are just 25 days away from bringing Quantum of the Seas to New York, a ship that is changing the game for connectivity at sea."

Beginning today, riders will see in-station signage about wireless and Transit Wireless Wi-Fi service. Ridership can select the SSID Transit Wireless Wi-Fi on their mobile devices to connect and have the opportunity to view a short Royal Caribbean International video to access the free Wi-Fi service. Additionally, Transit Wireless Wi-Fi will feature daily New York City news and content on what’s happening in the city from citybuzz.

Mobile Messengers will be in underground station mezzanine areas in Manhattan and Queens to inform riders about the availability of cellular service and the new subway Transit Wireless Wi-Fi service throughout the month of October and help riders connect to the network.