Train Tunnels Through New York City Now Equipped For Wireless Calls And Data Connections

Train Tunnels Through New York City Now Equipped For Wireless Calls And Data Connections

Verizon Wireless First to Provide Service in Train Tunnels

May 30, 2001



Commuters and travelers on trains to and from New York City now have access to wireless communications services clear through the tunnels, thanks to a new wireless network recently installed by Verizon Wireless. The advanced wireless system, which logged more than 250,000 calls during its first full month of operation, offers both voice and data services to train passengers on Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit lines into and out of Manhattan's rail stations.

For the first time, daily commuters to NYC, as well as Amtrak train travelers passing through New York to and from destinations like Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C, are able to use their wireless phones, and stay online with laptops as they travel through New York tunnels. Verizon Wireless installed the new communications system under an agreement with Amtrak which owns and operates the rail tunnels that connect Queens and New Jersey with Manhattan.

"Anyone who has traveled through New York's train tunnels knows the frustration of losing a call or not being able make a call," said Charles Hand, president of the company's New York Metro Region. "The problem is amplified for passengers on a long trip who may be in the middle of a meeting or conversation. Now train riders can choose to stay connected all the way, reading e-mail, checking stock prices or making and answering important phone calls. We're proud to be the first wireless company to bring this service and its time-saving benefits to our customers."

The service is made possible by 15.5 miles of "leaky" coaxial cable installed in the tunnels. Like a garden hose with holes punctured at points to allow water to stream through, the cable emits radio signals to provide wireless service inside the tunnels. Signals are sent into the cable by using microcells located throughout the tunnels.

Working from midnight to 5:00 a.m. daily, Verizon Wireless contractors used two Hy-rail vehicles to navigate through the tunnels and install the cable and fiber optics. The construction took more than 14 months to complete.

Verizon Wireless service already is available in the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, as well as in the Brooklyn Battery and Queens Midtown tunnels. In addition, the company has microcells in Penn Station and Madison Square Garden that allow customers to continue their conversations from the trains up to and on the street. Verizon Wireless is investing more than $300 million this year in the New York Metro Region to enhance its digital wireless network to deliver the most advanced wireless voice and data services to its customers.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 27 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 96 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.