NJ Transit hires Cablevision to provide Wi-Fi service

New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) has entered into a 20-year agreement with Cablevision for the latter to provide Wi-Fi service in trains and stations. Customers of Cablevision will have access at no extra cost, but others have to pay (amount to be determined).

NJ Transit issued an RFP in 2010 seeking companies to provide Wi-Fi to NJ Transit customers. NJ Transit received 2 proposals, one from Cablevision, the other from RAILband Group.  The Board of NJ Transit chose Cablevision’s proposal. Cablevision will provide fiber optic cabling, wireless access points, antennas and related equipment in stations, along the right-of-way and onboard vehicles—at no cost to NJ Transit.

Indeed, when you read ITEM 1306-27 of of the 12 June 2013 Agenda of the Board of Directors Meeting, you will see that Cablevision’s offer to bear all of the costs of installing and maintaining the Wi-Fi network was extremely important. I don’t know the other company, RAILband Group. I looked them up with a Google search and it does not seem to be a large company like Cablevision, so that may have tipped the scales in Cablevision’s favor, too.

Below is the excerpt from the 12 June 2013 NJ Transit Board of Director’s meeting concerning Cablevision’s Wi-Fi proposal and the resolution authorizing the Chairman of NJ Transit to enter into a contract with Cablevision on behalf on NJ Transit:

ITEM 1306-27: CSC TKR, LLC (“CABLEVISION”) TO PROVIDE WIFI INTERNET SERVICE

BENEFITS

NJ TRANSIT will contract with CSC TKR, LLC (“Cablevision”) to provide high-speed wireless internet to customers via WiFi technology. This public/private partnership enhances customer amenities and improves their travel experience while reducing the reliance on taxpayer subsidy as Cablevision will be providing this infrastructure investment at no cost to NJ TRANSIT. By entering into this partnership and implementing the associated service, NJ TRANSIT customers will be able to browse the internet, send and receive email, and use other internet-based applications at NJ TRANSIT’s intermodal stations (rail, bus and light rail), rail stations and platforms, and ultimately onboard rail cars during their travel.

This 20-year partnership also enables NJ TRANSIT to obtain dedicated use of related communications facilities (fiber optic, copper, and wireless transmission lines) at no cost to the agency and reduce current operating costs.

ACTION (Scorecard: Corporate Accountability, Customer Experience, Financial Performance)

Staff seeks authorization to enter into NJ TRANSIT No. Contract 11-001 with Cablevision for the implementation and maintenance of a system-wide wireless internet (WiFi) service. Cablevision’s proposal was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (“RFP”) process. The contract is a no-cost contract to NJ TRANSIT and is intended to provide revenue and cost saving opportunities over the life of the agreement.

PURPOSE

This contractual agreement allows Cablevision to provide wireless internet service at rail and intermodal stations (bus, rail and light rail) on station platforms and onboard trains by installing a high-speed communications infrastructure including: fiber optic cabling; wireless access points; antennas; and related equipment in stations, along the right-of-way, and onboard vehicles. The proposed contract is for a 20-year agreement.

BACKGROUND

In September 2010, NJ TRANSIT issued a RFP to solicit proposals from vendors to provide wireless internet to commuters. Throughout 2011, NJ TRANSIT reviewed proposals, design documents, and commercial solutions. Recent NJ TRANSIT Customer Satisfaction Survey results indicated that 67% of our customers use internet enabled devices to get service information while commuting. Moreover, nearly 50 customers have emailed us specifically asking when we would have WiFi on our system.

PROCUREMENT HISTORY

NJ TRANSIT solicited proposals through a Request for Proposal (RFP) procurement process to engage a firm for up to 20 years, to design and install, maintain and support wireless broadband service (WiFi) for NJ TRANSIT’s customers without any capital expenditures by NJ TRANSIT. NJ TRANSIT advertised the RFP on August 31, 2010 in The Trenton Times and The Star Ledger newspapers. As a result, eighty-eight (88) solicitation packages were distributed to potential proposers. NJ TRANSIT subsequently received two proposals from Cablevision and the RAILband Group, with Cablevision being the highest ranked firm.

A Technical Evaluation Committee scored each proposal, and deemed Cablevision’s proposal as the best-qualified proposal for NJ TRANSIT. Cablevision’s proposal offered a zero-cost contract to NJ TRANSIT. Cablevision is responsible for 100 percent of the capital and operating costs associated with development, installation, infrastructure improvements, materials and subsequent system maintenance associated with the WiFi system. (my highlight)

This item has been reviewed and recommended by the Board Customer Service Committee and the Board Administration Committee.

FISCAL IMPACTS

Requested Authorization: $0 – Cablevision
Total Project Cost: $0
Projected Date of Completion: 2016
Anticipated Source of Funds: Not Applicable
DBE/SBE Goal: Not Applicable
NJ Build Amount: None
Related/Future Authorizations: None
Impact on Subsequent
Operating Budgets: None

RESOLUTION

WHEREAS, NJ TRANSIT contracts with CSC TKR, LLC (“Cablevision”) to extend its Optimum WiFi network so that it will be accessible to NJ TRANSIT and its customers and at NJ TRANSIT stations and on platforms and trains, and such other NJ TRANSIT properties, by installing a high-speed communications infrastructure including: fiber optic cabling; wireless access points; antennas; and related equipment in stations, along the right–of-way, and onboard rail vehicles; and

WHEREAS, NJ TRANSIT will gain dedicated use of WiFi related communication facilities (fiber optic, copper, and wireless transmission lines) at no cost to support its operational needs, passenger communications, point of sale terminals, and dynamic information signs; and

WHEREAS, NJ TRANSIT issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit proposals from vendors to provide wireless internet to customers. Throughout 2011, NJ TRANSIT reviewed proposals, design documents, and commercial solutions; and

WHEREAS, it was determined that Cablevision offered the best value and most advantageous proposal to NJ TRANSIT to provide WiFi services;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Chairman or Executive Director is authorized to enter into NJ TRANSIT No. Contract 11-001 with Cablevision for the implementation and maintenance of a system-wide wireless internet (WiFi) service. Cablevision’s proposal was selected through a competitive Request for Proposals (“RFP”) process. The contract is a no-cost contract to NJ TRANSIT and is intended to provide revenue and cost saving opportunities over the life of the agreement.