Mankind has come a long way since the days of cavemen. As a species, we’ve had renaissances, enlightenments and industrial revolutions. Now, in the 21st century, we are going through a technological revolution. Massive amounts of data crunching and computing are being done in the palm of our hands, artificial intelligence is keeping us company while assisting in our daily lives, and we are able to communicate with virtually anyone in the world through the use of wi-fi and the Internet. It is truly amazing to see how far we have come as a society. And with all of those technological innovations we have conjured up, we still haven’t been able to get wi-fi or cellular service in the subway. Until now, that is.
According to a report from Engadget, as of New Year’s Eve, all of the 279 subway stations have wi-fi access. Transit Wireless is providing the wireless infrastructure for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and its 5.7 million daily passengers. With so many daily passengers, especially in today’s media obsessed society, a strong and secure service is necessary. That is why Transit Wireless is going to great lengths to ensure that the infrastructure is of the utmost quality for commuting New Yorkers. The infrastructure is, as described by the company’s website, a “high quality, highly resilient infrastructure for secure private networks; public safety communications; New York City transit communications; and public Wi-Fi, cellular and broadband wireless.” While the telecommunications company has provided Wi-Fi access, the cellular service has yet to become available. Reports suggest that cellular service will be available sometime early this year.
While the MTA had already implemented the first Wi-Fi station in 2011, the world has become increasingly connected since then, with almost 70 percent of adults owning a smartphone as of 2015. That number has surely gone higher since then. With such an increase in smartphone users, and by extension, Internet users, particularly in New York City, the subways were desperately lacking in wireless connectivity, with many users’ devices going dark. With Transit Wireless’ brand new, safe infrastructure, New Yorkers have been surfing the web freely while waiting for their trains.
And while this new source of Wi-Fi is a welcome addition for many, other New Yorkers are not exactly excited for the new service. In a report from The New York Times, New York City commuter, Lily Jen does not trust the infrastructure’s security stating, “I’m not going to be doing any banking on the subway.” Others, like Erwin Figueroa, invited the service with open arms, hopeful that the Wi-Fi will make waiting for a train more bearable. And some just wish the service offered more, like Brandon Philips, who said, “any true relevant Wi-Fi service should be available on the trains themselves.”
Hopefully in the future, as Transit Wireless and the MTA continue their partnership (they have signed on to a 28 year contract), they will upgrade the infrastructure and provide New Yorkers with safe, reliable Wi-Fi.