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Transit Wireless Teams With AT&T To Bring Wireless Broadband To NYC’s Canarsie Tunnel

‘It’s the right thing to do because the connectivity is the foundation for a rider feeling safe and secure—just being able to reach out if needed or to enhance work productivity while on the train,’ says Transit Wireless CEO Melinda White.

In the face of a global pandemic, a New York collaboration successfully rolled out wireless broadband in New York City’s Canarsie Tunnel, advancing the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s existing wireless connectivity initiatives.

“It is a very challenging time for all businesses and I think what it brings to the surface is that partnerships, the right partnerships, are so important and can keep everyone strong and keep everyone moving forward,” Transit Wireless CEO Melinda White told CRNtv.

The New York-based solution provider teamed up with the MTA, AT&T as well as other network providers to get the first under-river subway tunnel up and running with full cellular connectivity in New York City.

When It All Began

The partnership dates back to 2010, with the MTA taking the lead to develop the city’s underground subway system.

“I mean think about it, it wasn‘t that long ago really when you’d go down to an underground station and lose all connectivity,” said White. “Well in 2012, when we commenced that build, that began to change, and it changed the expectation of the riders and it brought a different experience to the rider on the underground platform.”

Today, this partnership has extended that, added White, “and to think that an underwater tunnel is that next step, it’s a big step, it’s a big step for all of us.”

Coming Back Stronger

“It’s an exciting project and kudos to the MTA, they have been working to address all of the issues from the hurricane a few years ago, Hurricane Sandy, and the L Line was one of those lines that was impacted and the Canarsie Tunnel was one of those renovations that has been in their capital plan for sometime,” White told CRNtv.

Following Hurricane Sandy, Transit Wireless came in as a partner to help build a lasting network that would allow cellular connectivity within a mile-and-a-half tunnel, and now under water for riders who take the L Line.

“Our business is really focused on transportation and we are a fiber designer, builder; we partner very closely with the network operators all across the cellular spectrum, but the Transit Authority is where we take our direction,” said White. “We listen to their needs, and I think the Canarsie line tunnel is a great example of their ability to keep the focus, continue to lead across their projects, and bring in partners like Transit Wireless and AT&T, and other network providers to be part of the overall solution.”

Beating The Odds

Like most in New York City, White told CRNtv that as a company it felt the blow of the pandemic not only economically, but unfortunately, within its team.

“We had some very sad moments, but like everyone else in New York City we persevered, we kept our focus on the customer, we had two builds happening at the time and kudos to the Transit Wireless team, they continued to work,” said White. “We ensured that safety and health was at the forefront. Not so easy to do when there are a lot of unknowns, but the outcome is we have a working system in the Canarsie line tunnel and the riders are now connected with AT&T service.”

This is why the initiative is “the right thing to do because the connectivity is the foundation for a rider feeling safe and secure—just being able to reach out if needed or to enhance work productivity while on the train,” added White.

Making History

Amy Kramer, president of AT&T New York, joined CRNtv to talk about the collaboration and the role the telecommunications provider played in the project.

“We are really proud to be part of that history-making announcement,” said Kramer. “As part of our commitment to New Yorkers, we strive to provide great service whether they’re above ground on a bus, a subway, or in an underground tunnel. We’re really proud to be part of that announcement and to be the first carrier to deliver that connectivity through the tunnel.”

And with COVID-19 accelerating the transition to a digital society, Kramer applauded the collaboration for coming together in the face of a global pandemic.

“I am so proud of our essential workers, both in the government and at companies, like AT&T and Transit Wireless, who throughout this crisis worked very hard on the front lines to deliver a robust network,” said Kramer.

“AT&T’s network performed beautifully during COVID as our customers were really changing how they used wireless, and to be able to not only maintain our network throughout COVID but also keep expanding is exactly what AT&T delivers,” she added.

To learn more, head over to CRNtv.

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