MTA Metro-North Announces Full Wireless Coverage in Grand Central Terminal
According to an MTA Metro-North Railroad press release, the MTA recently announced that AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless have contracted with Ericsson to design and install a wireless network inside Grand Central Terminal and the Park Avenue Tunnel. While Ericsson has already started work, the project is expected to take more than two years before it is fully operational because of the complexity of installing system hardware in the 48-acre Grand Central complex, including its track areas and tunnels, without disrupting the movement of Metro-North’s nearly 700 daily trains.
This new distributed antenna system (DAS), which will be funded by the carriers and built at no cost to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will allow virtually all Metro-North customers to access cellular services throughout Grand Central and the Park Avenue Tunnel. The wireless carriers also will allow customers to access Wi-Fi throughout Grand Central.
The carriers will provide to the MTA a system that includes a separate fiber and radio communications network for use by railroad, MTA Police and emergency responders. Due to its extensive experience with these types of complex projects, Ericsson was selected to design and install the entire system.
“This deal will provide significant improvements in customer service, railroad operations and emergency management in GCT, all at no cost to MTA or Metro-North,” said Metro-North President Howard Permut. “This network will improve radio communication for our operating department employees, the MTA Police and other first responders.”
The public safety communications network will be transferred to and owned by Metro-North. Over the course of the 20-year arrangement, Metro-North and the MTA expect to receive license revenues of $4.3 million from the carriers.