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Queens Chronicle

M’hattan subways go wireless; Queens next

Work scheduled for 1st qtr. of 2014

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:49 am, Thu May 9, 2013.

Gov. Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced on April 25 that 30 Manhattan subway stations have been newly fitted out for wireless communication, and an MTA spokesman said Queens stations are slated to begin coming on line in less than a year.

In a joint statement, Cuomo and the MTA said last week that the 30 new stations run as far south as 14th Street and as far north as 96th Street. Five of the locations are at Times Square-42nd Street.

The work brings the number of wireless stations to 36, all in Manhattan.

The MTA said its aim is to have the remaining 241 underground stations wireless-ready within four years. Long Island City-based Transit Wireless is handling the work.

“The MTA has been on a clearly defined mission to bring our mass transit system into the 21st century with upgrades to the station environment through several ambitious new technology communications projects like this one,” Thomas Prendergast, interim MTA Chairman, said.

“[It is] aimed at improving the travel experiences of our customers while offering another level of security,” he added.

The next 40 stations, in Midtown Manhattan and Queens — including Flushing-Main Street — already are in the planning stages, according to the MTA, and should be operable by the first quarter of 2014.

“This goes beyond providing cell phone service underground,” Cuomo said. “It brings our customers a new level of security — with the ability to dial 911 in an emergency. Customers now know that when they see something, they can now say something using their devices to call 911.”

And with all major cell companies on board with the project, Cuomo added, “the vast majority of MTA customers will have the ability to do so.”

AT&T, T-Mobile USA and Boingo Wireless already are on board with the project, and the MTA said Verizon and Sprint “are finalizing agreements to participate in the network.”

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