Brooklyn Heights

Last NYC subway station to get cellphone service going live Monday at Clark Street in Brooklyn

January 6, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A milestone: Clark Street Station, the last subway station in the city to receive cell phone service is going live on Monday. Photo by Mary Frost

Soon you’ll be able to chat with friends — or answer your boss’ call — on any subway platform in the city.

The final subway station in New York City to be wired for cellphone service, Clark Street on the 2 and 3 line in Brooklyn Heights, is going live on Monday.

The installation of cellphone service at stations citywide has been accomplished almost a year ahead of the original schedule, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Thursday.

Free Transit Wi-Fi service has also been activated across the system, almost two years ahead of schedule. Coverage is provided by AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

An MTA employee at the Clark Street station confirmed on Thursday that Wi-Fi was working at the station, one of the deepest stations in the system.

“As of Monday our customers can text or call from our underground stations, staying in touch with their families, keeping up with work, and staying connected,” New York City Transit President Veronique Hakim said in a statement.

The construction of the wireless and Wi-Fi network began in 2011 at six stations in Chelsea, and was originally slated for completion in 2018. Gov. Cuomo directed the MTA to accelerate the process, however. Monday’s Clark Street hookup will complete a major segment of his campaign to modernize the system.

In July 2016, Cuomo unveiled a $27 billion transformation of the city’s mass transit system. The five-year-capital plan would rebuild 31 subway stations across the city — starting with the Prospect Avenue, 53rd Street and Bay Ridge Avenue stations in Brooklyn — and outfit the system with 1,025 new subway cars.

The station transformations include enhanced lighting, improved signage, countdown clocks and contemporary art, along with the cellular service and Wi-Fi.

“By bringing Wi-Fi and cell service underground ahead of schedule, we are reimagining our subway stations to meet the needs of the next generation,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Four stations which are either under renovation (South Ferry) or about to start a renovation (Prospect Ave., 53rd Street and Bay Ridge) will come online immediately upon conclusion of their renovation, according to MTA.

The cell and Wi-Fi service is provided by Transit Wireless, which has a 27-year contract. The company says it has invested over $300 million in the project. It is sharing revenues derived from the network’s services with the MTA.

MTA and Transit Wireless are also working together on a public safety project, which includes a 4.9 GHz broadband network and Help Point Intercoms. These intercoms offer access to “E911” (Enhanced 911) assistance. E911 allows the location of the wireless user to be known to the assistance provider. As of Thursday, Transit Wireless had built the infrastructure for more than 3,000 Help Point Intercoms in 175 underground stations.

The new cellphone and Wi-Fi service does not operate in the system’s tunnels. Hundreds of the new subway cars described by the governor last July, however, will include Wi-Fi, USB chargers and digital customer information displays. They will also include digital ads and security cameras.