This is not a drill: There will soon be cell service between all subway stations in NYC

This is huge news: the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) just announced its plans to provide cell coverage throughout all 418 track miles of subway tunnels within the next ten years. The new project will also seek to expand Wi-Fi service to all 191 above-ground stations and 21 Staten Island Railway stops.  

Finally, New Yorkers will get to use their phones throughout their entire commuting journey. Woohoo!

To be clear: all underground stations currently do offer cell service and Wi-Fi but this new agreement, a partnership between the public and private sector, would expand the service to areas between stations, which, as of now, are basically dead zones.

The program, led by communications company Transit Wireless, won’t only benefit riders but the actual MTA as well. 

“Transit Wireless will build out the necessary infrastructure, an investment likely to be over $600 million. This build leverages the company’s existing infrastructure located throughout NYC,” reads an official press release. “As the system is built out, the MTA will share in the revenues Transit Wireless receives from cell providers and other commercial customers, adding to the revenue from the station agreement. Further, the MTA will phase out the payments it currently makes to Transit Wireless for additional communication services such as leased fiber, real-time train arrival information and Help Points, the communication system that offers immediate access to 911 assistance and information with the touch of a button.”

Sure, a decade is a long time away, but projects of the sort are clearly worth waiting for. Who knows what’s going to happen between then and now in terms of transport and technology, after all. Perhaps, these subway barriers may be installed all over town, significantly changing New Yorkers’ commuting experience regardless of the MTA’s plans to expand cellular coverage in-between stops.

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