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New York City to provide Wi-Fi to all 191 above-ground subways at the cost of riders’ privacy

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced it will add Wi-Fi to all 191 above ground stations and 21 Staten Island railways stations in the next 10 years, but the free internet connection will cost New Yorkers’ their privacy.

MTA is working with Transit Wireless, a New York-based communications infrastructure company, which is flipping the bill for the $600 million project and will mine data from users who connect to the service.

The firm has not clarified what data will be collected. DailyMail.com has contacted Transit Wireless for more information on the matter. 

Transit Wireless, which describes itself as ‘one of the largest data-driven captive audience platforms,’ has already unleashed Wi-Fi to 281 underground subways.

Although trading privacy for Wi-Fi is part of the deal, many New Yorkers are still thrilled over getting the service – many criticize the MTA for waiting as long as it has to provide them with access and are frustrated it will take another 10 years.

 The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is working with Transit Wireless to provide Wi-Fi service to the 191 above-ground subway stations

The MTA and Transit Wireless have been very vague in the data mining, but has also mentioned ‘monetizing’ as another revenue source for the firm.

This could mean that it will play specific ads for users who are connected to the subway Wi-Fi. 

According to The New York Times, the MTA is set to get a cut of the profits made by Transit Wireless.

Once the company makes back its $600 million, it will give the MTA 20 percent over a six-year period and then increasing it to 40 percent after 15 years from the start of the service.

One Twitter user revealed that the Wi-Fi comes at a cost to New Yorkers

One Twitter user revealed that the Wi-Fi comes at a cost to New Yorkers

Some New Yorkers are thrilled to hear about Wi-Fi coming to all subway stations, noting that they can't believe it has taken this long

Some New Yorkers are thrilled to hear about Wi-Fi coming to all subway stations, noting that they can’t believe it has taken this long 

The MTA could see as much as $400 million from this project. 

Regardless, many New Yorkers are happy to finally have Wi-Fi service at all subway stations.

One person shared on Twitter, following the announcement: ‘OMG… This is unbelievable. NYC’s subway system still not wired for cellphone & wifi services yet? We still have to wait another ten yrs?

NBC journalist, Marcus Harun, also took to Twitter to share his frustrations: ‘Why can I get wifi traveling 500 mph in the sky (plane), but can’t get it on earth (NYC subway) in 2022? I mean, I pay them a whopping $2.75.’

NBC journalist, Marcus Harun, also took to Twitter to share his frustrations. It will, however, take another 10 years for Wi-Fi to be available

NBC journalist, Marcus Harun, also took to Twitter to share his frustrations. It will, however, take another 10 years for Wi-Fi to be available

NYC Transit President Richard Davey, said in a statement: ‘Having uninterrupted network connection underground will reimagine how New Yorkers travel by providing the opportunity to take advantage of every minute of their commute with cell service and internet connection, which can also ease any traveling obstacles visitors face when trying to navigate the system. 

‘We look forward to using the enhanced connectivity to improve the service information we provide for customers.’

More than three million people ride New York City’s subway system every day and providing service has been a long, on-going project for officials.

The 10-year project will also provide coverage to the 21 Staten Island railway stations. This will ensure all 418 miles of track has cellular service

The 10-year project will also provide coverage to the 21 Staten Island railway stations. This will ensure all 418 miles of track has cellular service

Transit Wireless was founded in 2005 and began building the infrastructure necessary to provide cellular service across Manhattan.

The firm’s phase one launched 2013, which added service to 30 stations in Manhattan.

Transit Wireless is paying the $600 million to complete the project. It has not revealed which lines will be finished first, but riders will have access as each section is completed

Transit Wireless is paying the $600 million to complete the project. It has not revealed which lines will be finished first, but riders will have access as each section is completed

Phase two rolled out October 2014 that covered all of Queens and several other stations in Manhattan, including Bryant Park, Herald Square, and Grand Central Terminal.

Three years later, all 279 underground stations had service and in 2020, the firm brought connection to the L that runs between Brooklyn and Manhattan – the first tunnel in the system to have full connectivity.

Now Transit Wireless is working to wire the rest of the railways. In the end, it will have cost Transit Wireless $1 billion to provide service to all above and underground stations.

MTA President of Construction and Development Jamie Torres-Springer, said in a statement: ‘This latest advancement in technology will coordinate with other work throughout the system to fit out hundreds of miles of tunnels to enable cell service between stations and support MTA operational needs.

‘We look forward to closing the remaining cellular coverage and data connectivity gaps in our subway system.’

The addition of wi-fi and cell phone service in 2017 came as former Governor Andrew Cuomo announced upgrades for the then century-old transit system.

Cuomo said $29 billion was being allocate to the plan, which also added digital countdown clocks, replacement subway cars and mobile charging states on subway cars.

Across the US in Northern California, officials plan to provide wi-fi at all 50 stations by 2024 with the help of Bay Area Transit.

And in London, riders at every station will have access by the end of 2024 as well.

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