NYFI aims to implement free WiFi on Long Island Rail Road and Metro

Darren Murph
D. Murph|06.16.10

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NYFI aims to implement free WiFi on Long Island Rail Road and Metro
Mmm... the smell of gratis wireless broadband in morning. Even Starbucks agrees, you just can't beat it. One smell we could stand to live without is the stench left on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro after a few too many party people hitch a ride following a long Sunday in the city pub, but having free access to the world wide web while riding will make the act of dealing a whole lot easier. All jesting aside, NYFI (described as a "well financed neutral host WiFi provider"), has recently submitted a proposal to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA) to "build and operate a new WiFi network on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains." Unlike similar ideas thrown around in the Big Apple, this setup won't require users to be subscribers of a cable service or any of the many religious cults going around these days. Head on past the break if you actually care to know how it'll be financed (hint: you don't), and be sure to push whoever you have to push to ensure this gets passed. Got it?
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NYFI™ Bringing Free Wi-Fi to NY Commuter Trains

Riders of the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Trains Will Receive Free Wi-Fi Without Subscribing to Any Costly Service Plans, If NYFI Service Proposal is Accepted by the MTA.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NYFI, a well financed neutral host Wi-Fi provider, has submitted a proposal to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA) to build and operate a new Wi-Fi network on Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road trains. Unlike another proposal, the NYFI solution would not require users to subscribe to a service like Cablevision to access the system without paying. NYFI service is designed to be good for everyone.

Rather than using a pay-for-service model where user fees fund on board Wi-Fi, the NYFI approach would first assist the MTA by paying for an operational revamp of the MTA's revenue generating activities, like advertising. The revamp would be led by highly experienced firms. The results are expected to more than cover costs associated with the free Wi-Fi system, yielding increased annual revenue to the MTA, while reducing costs.

The NYFI implementation team includes firms deeply experienced with the installation and operation of Wi-Fi on trains. The team believes the MTA is taking the right approach to solving the need for free Wi-Fi on commuter trains. Asking for creative solutions from the private sector may be the beginning of new "private-public" partnerships resulting in better services and no fare increases to commuters.

The NYFI free Wi-Fi solution would kick off as soon as the proposal is accepted by the MTA.

NYFI™ is a free Wi-Fi service sponsored by Mobilitie – the industry leading private telecommunications infrastructure provider. Mobilitie is one of the largest fiber optic network owners in Manhattan and also owns thousands of other wireless assets across the country. More information is available at mobilitie.com.

Update: We've spoken with Alex Mashinsky, founder of Transit Wireless, for his take on the details behind the project. Below are his statements:
"We have added http://www.broadcastaustralia.com.au/ as a partner to the venture to strengthen our technical and financial capabilities. they will be funding the majority of the capital outlays and helping with the technical implementation.

Our design and implementation will put NYC as the leading worldwide underground system in terms of coverage, speed and overall available bandwidth to the 7m daily commuters who use the network of 277 stations.

We hope to finish the construction ahead of the announced MTA deadlines and launch all 5 licensed NYC carriers + several Wifi providers. There will be no extra cost for users and they will be able to enjoy seamless roaming and strong signal underground.

Since the signal will propagate beyond the stations you will have a "quiet cars" effect, the middle cars will not have receptions in the tunnels but the first and last car should still get strong signal especially in the wide tunnels with the express lanes.

This project will cost between $150-200m to build and will service over 7m daily commuters for voice and data transmissions. We will support 3G and 4G services and will be deploying them based on the carriers requests.

Many other services are planed as well which will allow enhanced messaging and capabilities in the subways and leapfrog our wireless services and connectivity from the last place in the developed world to the first place.

In addition to Transit Wireless I am also the founder of GroundLink which operates the worlds largest platform for ground services. we are in the process of deploying 110v + USB power and WiFi service in all the vehicles in our network so each moving car will become a hotspot and enable 16 users to log in at the same time. "
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