Why no wifi? Tech upgrades at three subway stations are slowing wireless rollout

Brooklyn Paper
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Three Brooklyn subway stations are still without wifi internet — despite Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that riders would be able to connect anywhere in the system starting on Jan. 9.

There’s no logging on at the Bay Ridge Avenue, 53rd Street, or Prospect Avenue stations — and riders may have to wait until the end of the year to do so, because the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is not turning on the juice until it finishes station upgrades at the three stops in the fall, officials said.

If the agency fired up the wifi now, it would just have to turn it on and off as it rebuilds the aging stations, a worker said.

“The station is being gutted. If they install things now, it would have to be taken out and then put back,” said a transit worker at the Bay Ridge Avenue station. “It wouldn’t really make sense to put everything in now. It’s easier this way.”

The authority will close the trio for about six months starting this spring to install new entrances, platforms, and countdown clocks — the first of 31 stations to get the facelifts under a Gov. Cuomo initiative to bring the transit system into the 21st century.

Trains will skip the 53rd Street station March to November and bypass the Bay Ridge Avenue stop from April to December. It is unclear what the timeline is for the Prospect Avenue station. But once the renovations are complete, the stations will join the rest of the subways with wifi and internet access, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Those with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless should now get cell service at 277 stations citywide, according to the transit authority. But 53rd Street and Prospect Avenue are not among them, a map of the service shows.

Southern Brooklyn straphangers appreciate that their stations are being spruced up, but some living off of the behind-the-times stops feel jilted they will have to wait another year to access wifi as they wait for their train, said one commuter.

“It’s a real bummer,” said Bay Ridgite Abe Assad, who lives near the Bay Ridge Avenue station. “I was wondering why all these other stations have wifi and not Bay Ridge Avenue. If they have it, why not us? I get that they’re upgrading the station, but I’m not crazy about having to wait. But what can you do?”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Tyler from pps says:
"Do you want your picture in the paper?"


"Will you point at something?"
Jan. 19, 2017, 10:02 am
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. from BS, BK, NY, US says:
That's Governor Cuomo's legacy on improving mass transit alright: He is the next Robert Moses in our own time. He is building his own profile for his presidential aspirations in 2020. Meanwhile, having wi-fi in our subway system is a want for surfing the web on our own electronic devices, while it is a need for calling for emergencies. As for these three particular stations, it is a damn shame for the bureaucratic MTA to neglect these. By the end of the day, some of us want better technology, while others want better subway service.
Jan. 19, 2017, 10:21 am
Bob from Hibbing says:
"Meantime life outside goes on
All around you"
Jan. 19, 2017, 10:39 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
"Gov. Cuomo’s announcement that riders would be able to connect anywhere in the system starting on Jan. 9"

Nope. Still can't connect to wifi in the tunnels between stations. I'm pretty sure the tunnels constitute "anywhere in the system".
Jan. 19, 2017, 1:18 pm
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Not being able to connect in between stations is brilliant. Perfect for quiet browsing, or texting, but annoying idiots yapping on their phones get their calls cut off.
Jan. 19, 2017, 1:27 pm
Ruth Brown (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Tyler, we also ask people to cross their arms, hold their nose, give thumbs down, thumbs up... there are so many ways to get into this newspaper!
Jan. 19, 2017, 5:30 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Why does Gov. Cuomo remind me of Chico Marx?
Jan. 19, 2017, 5:49 pm

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