New York MTA wants wireless broadband in trains and stations

The New York MTA and Long Island Rail Road have issued a Request for Expressions of Interest regarding the deployment of wireless broadband in trains and stations. Responses are due on 1 September 2009. Public transport companies are increasingly providing wireless broadband (mostly Wi-Fi) to passengers, often for free, to entice people away from their cars and other transportation firms.

Here’s an excerpt from the RFEI:

“The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”), together with the Long Island Rail Road (“LIRR”) and Metro-North Commuter Railroad (“Metro-North”, and together with LIRR, the “Railroads”), are considering the deployment of wireless broadband services on the Railroads’ trains and in the Railroads’ stations. This RFEI is being issued to solicit expressions of interest from providers of such services.”

“LIRR operates between New York City and Long Island and within Long Island. Metro-North operates between New York City and the northern suburban counties of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess; from the City through the southern portion of the State of Connecticut; through an arrangement with New Jersey Transit, the Port Jervis and Pascack Valley commuter rail services to Orange and Rockland Counties; and within such counties and the State of Connecticut. LIRR and Metro-North are, respectively, the largest and second largest commuter railroad services in the nation and operate every day of the year, although frequency of service varies by route, day of the week and time of

. . . .

“The RFEI will provide MTA and the Railroads the opportunity to review different technologies and solutions and to evaluate different business cases. As an option, one or both of the Railroads may decide to permit a technical trial of one or more technical solutions at no cost to the Railroads. After the Railroads review the responses to the RFEI (and the results of technical trials, if any), a decision will be made whether to proceed with a wide scale on-train and/or station wireless broadband implementation pursuant to a subsequent request for proposals (“RFP”).”

“Given that MTA and the Railroads are at a relatively early stage in our consideration of whether to proceed to implementation of a wireless broadband network as described in this RFEI, we recognize that Respondents may not be willing to spend the time and money necessary to develop detailed responses to all of the questions and specific requests for information that are set forth below.
However, the better the quality of the responses we receive, including specific consideration of the Railroads’ business, policy and operating environments, the better we will be able to (a) measure the interest of particular Respondents and (b) determine whether and how to proceed.”

Request for Expressions of Interest in Broadband Wireless on Trains and in Stations


  1. The MTA still needs to deploy mobile phone service. Let alone fix some other major issues.

  2. We have a project in Mexico that is almost identical to this. We have researched the perfect equipment and have implemented it. This is a no- brainer. bv

  3. Wanted you to be aware of this event on May 26. Please feel free to announce to your readers:

    What’s Next for U.S. Wireless Broadband?

    Wireless broadband technology is evolving rapidly, presenting significant growth opportunities over the next few years. The FCC recently announced plans to bring broadband to 100 million American homes by 2020, with mobile broadband playing an integral role. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have awarded over $7.2 billion to broadband projects.

    While broadband will be available across the US soon, other countries already have nationwide coverage with plans to upgrade from 1-10 Mega-bits per second (Mbps) to lightning-fast 100 Mbps services within five years. What are the benefits, challenges, and opportunities presented by these changes?

    Our panelists include representatives from service providers, application developers, and sources of capital. They will share their experience and offer their views on the future of wireless broadband and how it may impact today`s business models. Among the issues we will discuss:

    Market potential: Some of the first rural broadband wireless networks will spring up as early as this year.

    Technological obstacles and trends: WiMAX, 3G, and 4G LTE each present different technical challenges – and there are demand-side obstacles, such as fewer household computers in rural areas.

    Emerging opportunities and VC investment: Some startups are already receiving significant funding – for example, LightSquared has raised $850MM for a satellite-based 4G LTE network.

    Government policies, funding, and regulation: Today, the FCC has assigned only 50 megahertz for broadband use; industry players have already warned that this could limit U.S. innovation and technology development.

    Long-term impact: Some industry commentators have predicted a “mobile nirvana,” with even greater demand for mobile apps, more widespread use of social networking, and an increase in mobile advertising.

    Panel Moderator:
    – David Goodman, Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering, NYU

    Panel Speakers:
    – Sandeep Beotra, Managing Director, Morgan Joseph
    – Frank Boulben, Chief Marketing Officer, LightSquared
    – Dana Spiegel, Executive Director of NYCwireless, VP of Product and Engineering at AxialMarket
    – Bart Stuck, Managing Director, Signal Lake Venture Capital
    – Jagjit Toor, Director of Access Networks, Alcatel-Lucent

    DATE: Thursday, May 26th, 2011
    TIME: 5:30pm – 6:00pm: Reception
    6:00pm – 7:30pm: Panel Discussion
    7:30pm – 8:30pm: Networking
    PLACE: Holland & Knight
    31 West 52nd Street
    New York, NY 10019

    REGISTRATION: Free to members of MIT Enterprise Forum
    $50 non-members, $10 extra at door. Rolling annual membership – join for $100.