New York City's subway system is slowly but surely getting expanded underground wireless coverage via a distributed antenna system (DAS) being deployed by Transit Wireless.
Transit and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) brought six subway stations in Chelsea online during September 2011 and just announced that 30 more are now in service in mid-town Manhattan, including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle. RF Nodes are located on every platform and mezzanine as well as at various points within public access passageways.
The neutral-host DAS has already signed as anchor tenants AT&T (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile USA, which are using the DAS to extend their wireless voice and data services into the subway. Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) are also finalizing contracts to deliver their services via the DAS.
In May 2012, Boingo Wireless announced an agreement with Transit to manage and operate Wi-Fi Internet services within the New York City subway system. Boingo is using Transit's DAS to expand its sponsored Wi-Fi hotspot offering. "Boingo has kept commuters connected since our managed and operated services launched in 2011. We look forward to expanding our network and introducing leading brands to consumers at stations across the city," said Zack Sterngold, Boingo's vice president of business development.
Boingo is currently providing free access to its sponsored Wi-Fi network to travelers who link to the SSID "FreeWifibyHTCONE."
Transit expects to deploy DAS in the remaining 241 underground stations within four years and has initiated installations in the next 40 stations, which include Grand Central Station as well as stations throughout the borough of Queens.
The company said it supports the DAS network with a comprehensive fiber backbone throughout New York City. In addition to simply delivering wireless services to subways travelers, Transit envisions the DAS enabling localized business promotion and providing a backbone for digital advertising to New York's more than 1.6 billion annual subway riders.
"The New York City subway system is the most heavily trafficked system in the world and now riders have wireless service," said William A. Bayne Jr., Transit's CEO. "This network benefits not only riders, but city workers and first responders, and it will be the backbone for future technology and safety improvements to the city's subway stations."
SOLiD supplied DAS equipment to Transit for the project. PCTel, the DAS network's antenna supplier, said it has partnered with Transit to pursue similar opportunities in Toronto, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
Broadcast Australia holds a controlling interest in Transit.
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Article updated on May 6, 2013, to include information on SOLiD's role in the project.