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NYC's subway-wide Wi-Fi initiative is off to strong start

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Audit results show that Wi-Fi in 150 underground stations is operating successfully

Flickr/MTA

It’s official, Wi-Fi and cell phone service is up and running at full capacity for 150 of the MTA’s subway stations in parts of Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer released the results of an audit, conducted between June and November 2016, confirming that stations which had wireless services installed in the first four phases of the project are operating successfully.

Transit Wireless, the company contracted by the MTA to install the public Wi-Fi system, was given until the end of 2017 to complete the project in all 279 underground stations. But working on an accelerated timeline, the company aimed to finish a full year earlier, with all stations receiving Wi-Fi by New Year’s Eve. The final stage (Phase Five) included stations in lower Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn. Those remaining stations have yet to be audited.

The audit test included making phone calls, sending texts, surfing the web, and streaming videos while underground and according to the audit results, all functions operated as intended. They also found that the MTA’s “Subway Reads” program, which allows travelers to download short stories and book excerpts is also working at participating stations. Though there are still several stations that need to be audited, things are looking pretty reassuring for the project.

“This audit shows that New York City is moving into the future, that we can be underground but don’t have to disconnect from the world,” said Stringer in a press statement.