Below we deconstruct two of New York City’s most important transportation infrastructure projects, that each have a significant digital infrastructure component to them, which is being led by Boingo Wireless. Indeed, Boingo is building distributed antenna systems (DAS) at and along some of the busiest rail hubs nationwide for New York’s MTA.

Overall, these distributed antenna systems (DAS) serve indoor environments with low wireless coverage. In New York City, Boingo Wireless is installing distributed antenna systems (DAS) in key transportation infrastructure hubs like subway stations, tunnels, and railway stations.

Situation – Boingo Wireless and MTA of New York

Boingo Wireless builds wireless networks such as distributed antenna systems (DAS), Wi-Fi, and small cells at large venues like airports, transportation hubs, stadiums, and military bases, amongst others.

In particular, Boingo Wireless was selected by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) of New York to design, build, operate, and maintain wireless services for two significant public transportation projects in New York City. Namely, the:

  1. Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) – Atlantic Branch
  2. Grand Central Terminal East Side Access (ESA) facility

These two distributed antenna systems (DAS) deployments will together cost $100m for Boingo to build-out. Specifically, the company is building wireless connectivity through 18 miles of tunnels in New York City.

The goal of these projects are to provide wireless connectivity to passengers of New York’s most trafficked public transportation systems and terminals, including both subways and rail systems.

Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) – Atlantic Branch

Transportation Infrastructure – New York’s Build-Out

Long Island Rail Road’s Atlantic Branch project encompasses: i) Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, ii) Jamaica Station in Queens, and iii) the Atlantic Avenue tunnel that connects the two locations.

Importantly, Atlantic Terminal is Long Island Rail Road’s second largest terminal, after Penn Station. Additionally, Jamaica Station is one of the busiest transportation hubs in the country. Indeed, Jamaica Station is a connection hub for the Long Island Rail Road, subway, bus, and the AirTrain to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

This transportation infrastructure project began with improvements to Jamaica station which include the construction of a new Platform “F”, which was completed in March 2020. This new platform provides customers with frequent and direct service to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. In turn, this allows for more regular train service between these two major stations and makes it easier to attend events at the Barclays Center.

Digital Infrastructure – Boingo Wireless Deployments

As part of the Long Island Rail Road’s desire to improve its customer experience, one of its most important areas of focus has been on the customer’s wireless connectivity. While Long Island Rail Road customers have connectivity to wireless services throughout most of the rail system, there is one significant exception.

Jamaica Station and Atlantic Terminal – Connection

Atlantic Terminal to Jamaica Station
Click here for a larger version of this image.

Currently, there is no wireless service available to customers or employees in the tunnels between Jamaica Station and Atlantic Terminal. Specifically, these are the tunnels located below Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, through which the trains pass. Additionally, wireless connectivity service in Jamaica Station and Atlantic Terminal is very often weak, at best.

Boingo Wireless Builds Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS)

To address Long Island Rail Road’s connectivity needs and, in turn, allow customers and employees to have robust wireless communication in these locations, the MTA in New York enlisted the services of Boingo Wireless. Specifically, Boingo is building distributed antenna systems (DAS) and a dark fiber network to provide Wi-Fi and cellular services.

Boingo Distributed Antenna Systems DAS

Boingo will act as a neutral-host, sub-licensing telecommunications capacity to the major wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. In turn, this ensures maximum coverage for the users of Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T’s networks. As a result, customers and MTA employees will have voice and data reception throughout their travels between Jamaica Station and Atlantic Terminal.

For Boingo Wireless performing this build, the company receives a license agreement with the MTA in New York. Specifically, Boingo will operate this network for a period of 10 years, with two consecutive 5-year renewal options. Therefore, Bongo’s contract can reach up to 20 years in duration, demonstrating the long-term nature of digital infrastructure.

Grand Central Terminal East Side Access (ESA)

Transportation Infrastructure – New York’s Build-Out

The East Side Access project provides new Long Island Rail Road service to the east side of Manhattan. Currently, it is one of the largest transportation infrastructure projects underway in the United States. In aggregate, the project will cost over $11bn and includes more than 8 miles of tunneling.

Once complete, which will be in December 2022, East Side Access will serve 162k customers each day. The route will provide a faster commute from Long Island and Queens to the east side of Manhattan. Specifically, customers will end their journey in a new 8-track terminal and concourse below Grand Central Terminal.

Digital Infrastructure – Boingo Wireless Deployments

Again, Boingo is building distributed antenna systems (DAS) and a dark fiber network to allow for Wi-Fi and cellular services. Therefore, customers will have voice and data reception throughout the East Side Access facility.

At the same time, Long Island Rail Road’s business operations can utilize the wireless network as well. Specifically, this connectivity will be provided in the East Side Access station, concourse, and tunnels in-and-out of Grand Central Terminal.

Boingo will act as a neutral-host, sub-licensing telecommunications capacity to the major wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.

For Boingo Wireless performing this build, the company receives a license agreement with the MTA in New York. Specifically, Boingo will operate this network for a period of 15 years, with two subsequent 5-year renewal options. Therefore, Boingo’s contract can reach up to 25 years in duration, showing again the long-term nature of digital infrastructure.

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