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NYC subway starts to get cell service

Associated Press / September 24, 2011

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NEW YORK - The long-delayed project to wire New York City subway stations for cellphone service is finally bearing fruit. A person close to the matter said six stations will go live with the service on Tuesday.

The person speaking yesterday on condition of anonymity said that AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA subscribers will be able to use their phones at six stations in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Sprint and Verizon phones will not work there for now. The person asked not to be identified because the official announcement is on Tuesday.

Cellphone service has been available in underground stations and tunnels in San Francisco’s Bay Area Rapid Transit system since 2006, and in Boston’s MBTA system since 2007.

The New York stations where the service will be available are on 14th Street from Sixth Avenue to Eighth Avenue, and on 23d Street and Eighth Avenue.

The signals will cover the platforms and mezzanines of the stations but extend only a short distance into tunnels. Cellular data services and text messaging will work in addition to calls.

The company doing the wiring, Transit Wireless, has another five years to set up service at the other 271 stations in the system. That means it needs to wire about one new station per week.

The project kicked off in 2007, but very little happened the first three years, as Transit Wireless ran into financing trouble.

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