Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 2, 2010 11:00 AM
Wi-Finally! We told you New York City was on the verge of getting connected, and now the satellites are at last aligning. Three years of negotiations have netted a deal between Transit Wireless LLC and Broadcast Australia to bring wireless to the New York City subway system. Well into the wireless future, the Big Apple’s brand as a forward-looking urban capital will get the lift it’s lacked.
In 2007 Transit Wireless LLC pledged to outfit the city by 2017, and this pact means work can finally begin – with Broadcast Australia footing the bill. The $200 million dollar deal will finally put NYC on a par with other major cities already equipped with WiFi in the tubes, like Singapore, Berlin and Tokyo.
As part of the deal, Chris Jaeger, Broadcast Australia's Managing Director - International Business, becomes CEO of New York-based Transit Wireless.
“Having already implemented similar subway communications infrastructure in Hong Kong, we see this venture as a natural step forward internationally, while developing a reliable critical communications solution for one of the world's busiest transport networks," said Jaeger.
Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Transit Wireless, was not clear on whether the network would support Long-Term Evolution or WiMax.
“We overbuilt the network to future-proof it for future technologies that will provide greater throughput,” Mashinsky said. “The current system is so good that normal use will see higher throughput underground than wireless service from above ground carrier networks.”
Now it’s a race against time to outfit six stations near Union Square, followed by four more years and 271 additional platforms to hit the 2017 target. Transit Wireless will begin installing smoke detector-size antennas at a rate of 10 to 15 per month. The antennas will supply subway riders with Wi-Fi on the mezzanines, platforms, and parts of tunnels.
Together with Times Square’s AT&T free wireless, and Starbucks’ everywhere stores access, the Big Apple may soon be thoroughly wired.