MTA’s Canarsie Tunnel is first under-river subway with full connectivity

Sept. 3, 2020
The agency partnered with Transit Wireless on a deal that not only earns revenue for MTA, it also provides riders with added cellular connectivity.

The recently rehabbed Canarsie Tunnel, which carries the L Line under the East River in New York City, has become the first under-river tunnel to have full connectivity. The feat is the result of a partnership between the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Transit Wireless.  

"The L Line project was proof that when we are confronted with a challenge, we can build back better and stronger," said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. "The L Train is now equipped with cellular service so New Yorkers can stay connected even when underground. We challenged those who said this project couldn't be done, and as a result, the MTA has delivered a more resilient tunnel with 21st century technology."

The work to boost the tunnel’s cellular and data connection occurred in tandem with the overhaul of the Canarsie Tunnel, which concluded in April - three months ahead of schedule.

MTA Construction & Development President Janno Lieber said, "We were able to piggyback on the work already being done in the tunnel for the L Project to provide this cellular connectivity to our customers without additional impacts on service. This is a nice benefit for our customers and it's the sort of work we will look to do at our other tunnel crossings."

MTA did not incur costs to provide the new connectivity and will receive revenue from the project. Additionally, the rollout of wireless broadband in the Canarsie tunnel advances the authority’s existing wireless connectivity initiatives. Transit Wireless, which worked to provide connectivity to the Canarsie Tunnel, also provides broadband to all underground subway stations.

“Wireless connectivity in the Canarsie Tunnel is another example of MTA's commitment to improve the rider experience, while laying the foundation for future 5G services," said Transit Wireless CEO Melinda White.

MTA has worked with cellular carriers such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon and Boingo to provide broadband connectivity at several locations throughout the subway and commuter rail network.

“Even with the challenges the MTA is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to enhancing and modernizing the subway system, especially when it comes to tools that enhance customer and employee safety. Giving our riders the ability to use 21st century connectivity in more parts of our system is a huge part of those efforts," said NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg.

Trent Reeves/MTA Construction & Development
Mta L Project Tunnelrehab Credit Trent Reeves Mta Construction And Development
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
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