Skift Take

New York City has an ambitious plan to get wireless service to all 277 underground stations by 2017, and by that time we will take it all for granted.

New York City subway riders will get access to wireless service in 40 more underground stations in midtown Manhattan and Queens under a plan the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will announce this week.

The expansion will provide mobile phone and Wi-Fi service to 11 Manhattan stations, including Grand Central, Herald Square and Bryant Park, according to a statement from Graybar Services Inc., a St. Louis-based company providing electrical equipment for the project. The other 29 stations will be in Queens.

The MTA won’t provide specific details about the expansion before an Oct. 16 announcement, said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the state agency.

The program, authorized in 2007, is entering what the MTA calls the second phase, following installations in 2011 and 2013, when Wi-Fi access spread from six underground stations to 36.

Providing wireless access will let riders make phone calls, send e-mails and stream videos, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press briefing in April 2013, after the first phase. It will make it easier for people to dial 911 in an emergency, he said.

Participating carriers are Sprint Communications Inc., T- Mobile USA Inc., Verizon Wireless Inc. and AT&T Inc.

The free Wi-Fi service, called MetroFi, will be provided by Transit Wireless LLC, said Walter Fowler, a spokesman for Sprint, in a phone interview. It will be sponsored by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Transit Wireless is a closely held company formed specifically for the MTA project.

In the first phase, Transit Wireless and the carriers covered about $200 million in costs. Revenue was split 50-50 between Transit Wireless and the MTA.

The MTA has said that by 2017 all 277 underground stations would have wireless service.

To contact the reporter on this story: Allyson Versprille in New York at [email protected] To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at [email protected] Mark Schoifet

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Tags: mta, nyc, subways

Photo credit: The "I Love NY" subway campaign was done in partnership with MTA. Here, images of the Adirondack Mountains show off beautiful fall foliage.

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