Wireless access expands in NYC subway [telecom]

The New York MTA announced that thirty additional subway stations now have wireless voice and data communication capability allowing New York City subway riders to make and receive cell phone calls, send and receive texts and e-mail and access Wi-Fi underground.

Wireless carriers who have contracted with Transit Wireless to provide voice and data service to their customers in underground New York City subway stations co-locate their Base Stations with Transit Wireless' Optical distribution equipment at a Transit Wireless Base Station Hotel, which is a resilient, fault-tolerant commercial facility with redundant air-conditioning and power. Base Stations are provided by wireless carriers for all FCC-licensed cellular bands. These Base Stations connect to Transit Wireless' Radio Interface and Optical Distribution System in the Base Station Hotel. Radio signals are combined, converted to optical signals and distributed on Transit Wireless' fiber optic cable through ducts under city streets to subway stations where the optical cables connect to multi-band Remote Fiber Nodes.

for the full press release which includes additional technical and contractual details please see:

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IMHO, this is not a good idea. Subway stations now have a liberal complement of pay telephones for emergency or urgent phone calls. When trains pass through the stations become very noisy making conversations almost impossible. Passengers talking on their phones will be very distracted and at risk for taking the wrong train, blocking the path of other passengers, falling down the many staircases, falling into the platform gap, or even falling into the tracks. Between trains stations are usually quiet giving a brief oasis from the noise and hustle of the streets above, yakkers on their cell phones will disturb that.

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A large number of stations on the NYC subway, probably the majority of them, are at or above grade, so people's cell phones have always worked there. If the phones are so dangerous, why don't we hear about distracted people plunging from trestles?

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John Levine

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