Most of us want constant connectivity, and if you live in New York, you’re now one step closer! Many of us have dreamed that free, nationwide public WiFi might soon become a reality, and New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is now bringing us one step closer.
A project that was started last year is nearing completion, as New York subway riders will soon get to use the Internet and make phone calls from certain Metro stations throughout the city.
In addition to the six Metro stations that were tested during 2012, 36 stations will now have WiFi service, and plans are in place to continue this program’s expansion. For many, this is an exciting new way to stay connected — just remember, it’s always important to protect your personal information when you’re using public Internet.
A Step Towards Constant WiFi Connectivity
Last summer, a company called Transit Wireless teamed up with the MTA in New York to begin outfitting its Metro stations with wireless and cell phone connectivity. The project is eventually expected to connect more than 270 stations, with Internet provided by Boingo Wireless. T
he collaboration that’s helping to bring this project to life is inspiring, as well. Boingo is helping by providing their Internet service, while Google Offers paid the bill during the six-station test phase.
Now that the service has rolled out to even more stations, HTC is going to go ahead and pick up the tab.
Of course, this means that you’re going to have to watch a nice little advertisement for HTC’s newest smartphone before you can get to reading your favorite Scambook blog articles, but many consider this a relatively small price to pay for the ability to make phone calls and browse the Internet while you’re underground.
All Things D points out that the major stations will be the first to be outfitted with the futuristic subterranean WiFi:
“Major stations, including Times Square and Rockefeller Center, are included in the expansion.”
While you won’t be able to use your phone or surf the Web while you’re actually riding on a train, these services will be available at stations. Currently, the cell service works with AT&T and T-Mobile users, so if you’re on Sprint or Verizon you might have to wait a little bit.
Don’t fret, however, as those cell carriers are in talks with the MTA to join this program, as well. This means that if you’re already a cell service customer, your use of New York’s new subterranean WiFi and cell phone system is essentially free.
Taking Time to Get It Right
New York isn’t the first city to introduce wireless phone and Internet service to its public transit hubs. A few other cities around the world have done this in recent years, but what makes New York a notable example is that they’ve taken the time to get it right.
The program was supposed to be moving along by the end of last year, but Hurricane Sandy delayed implementation. Progress has resumed, however, and Metro Riders in New York can now enjoy their smartphones even when they’re underground.
London did this about a year ago, with Virgin helping them bring WiFi service to about 120 various Tube stations. Tokyo’s enacted a similar program, but requires a prepaid pass. London requires a pay-as-you-go agreement, and doesn’t offer cellular service. The San Francisco Bay Area’s BART system also introduced WiFi about three years ago, but it continues to be unreliable to this day.
So while New York might not be the first city to introduce WiFi and cell service to its underground transit system on a widespread level, it’s looking to be the first city that has done it right.
Tell us — how might you use this newly-available connectivity?