NEWARK — The NJ Transit Board of Directors today authorized a public-private partnership with Cablevision to offer high-speed wireless internet access at stations and onboard trains. The Wi-Fi access will be provided to NJ Transit customers via a dedicated, trackside Wi-Fi network —–the first of its kind in the nation—at no cost to the agency.
“Through customer forums and surveys conducted as part of NJ Transit’s Scorecard initiative, we know that wireless internet service will be a welcome amenity for NJ Transit customers, enabling those who wish to remain connected during their commute to do so continuously,” said Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chairman James Simpson.
“This public-private partnership will enable NJ Transit to deliver on one of the top requests from our customers—wireless internet access at stations and onboard trains,” said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein. “We are thrilled to work with Cablevision to further enhance the overall customer experience on our system by offering a dedicated Wi-Fi connection—which as designed will be the first of its kind here in the United States.”
“Providing NJ Transit customers with access to an unparalleled Wi-Fi network is one of Cablevision’s strategic objectives,” said Cablevision President and CEO James L. Dolan. “We have already built the largest Wi-Fi network in the country to meet the surging demand from our own subscribers and now we look forward to working with NJ Transit to deliver an exceptional Wi-Fi experience to its riders.”
Wi-Fi on the NJ Transit system will be implemented in phases. The initial phase will focus on outfitting major stations like Newark Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal—which together serve more than 100,000 customers on a typical weekday on all transit modes—as well as Secaucus Junction, by the end of this year. Subsequent phases will include equipping additional train stations and ultimately rail cars by line. The project is expected to be substantially complete by yearend 2016.
In September 2010, NJ Transit issued a request for proposals (RFP) from qualified firms for the provision of wireless internet access to NJ Transit customers, including the design and architecture of the system to be used.
Following a competitive procurement process, the Board today authorized NJ Transit to enter into a 20-year no-cost contract with Cablevision Systems Corporation for the implementation and maintenance of a system-wide wireless internet (Wi-Fi) service that allows Cablevision to offer wireless internet service at rail and intermodal stations, on station platforms and onboard trains by installing a high-speed communications infrastructure. The infrastructure includes fiber optic cabling, wireless access points, antennas and related equipment in stations, along the right-of-way and onboard vehicles—a capital investment that will be made by Cablevision.
A Wi-Fi network at NJ Transit stations and onboard trains will offer high-speed access to most internet applications, including web browsing, email access, browser-based applications, file uploads and downloads, and multimedia applications. Cablevision will leverage its advanced fiber-optic network to provide direct, dedicated Wi-Fi access to the rail cars from adjacent hotspots constructed along the railway right-of-way.
All NJ Transit Board actions will take effect at the expiration of the statutory period for the Governor’s review and consideration of the meeting minutes.
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