Who will get the huge New York City MTA Wi-Fi contract?

The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority has issued a public tender to install Wi-Fi in commuter trains. Cablevision is bidding aggressively for the project because they can give free Wi-Fi access to their customers, thereby reducing churn and at the same time, enticing others to subscribe to their cable service. Non-Cablevision subscribers will have to pay.

The other significant bid comes from NYFI, which is backed by Mobilitie and calls itself a “neutral host Wi-Fi provider”. It promises to provide Wi-Fi service for free to all passengers. According to the NYFI press release,“rather than using a pay-for-service model where user fees fund on board Wi-Fi, the NYFI approach would first assist the MTA by paying for an operational revamp of the MTA’s revenue generating activities, like advertising. The revamp would be led by highly experienced firms. The results are expected to more than cover costs associated with the free Wi-Fi system, yielding increased annual revenue to the MTA, while reducing costs . . . NYFI is a free Wi-Fi service sponsored by Mobilitie – the industry leading private telecommunications infrastructure provider. Mobilitie is one of the largest fiber optic network owners in Manhattan and also owns thousands of other wireless assets across the country. More information is available at mobilitie.com.”

**Make sure you read the article entitled The Connected Train Comes of Age written by Jim Baker about wireless deployments in railway systems around the world.