SOUTH BRONX — Straphangers in The Bronx will soon be able to call and text at every underground station in the borough.
The MTA and Transit Wireless, along with representatives from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, on Thursday launched phase four of the campaign to bring wireless service to every underground station in the New York City subway system by January 2016.
The campaign has already brought WiFi to the subterranean subway stops, so Bronxites should now have access to the Internet whenever they use the MTA to travel through the borough.
“More and more, access to high speed internet is a necessity, and many New Yorkers cannot afford to be blacked out while trying to get from point A to point B,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
“By ensuring that subways stations throughout the city offer full WiFi capabilities, we are not only improving rider experience, but also making public transportation a more viable option for those who work in and around our city,” he continued.
The campaign to bring wireless to the subway consists of seven phases overall, and officials have already begun work on phase five, which focuses on 37 stations in downtown Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. It should be completed midway through 2016.
Phase four brings wireless and WiFi to a total of 21 stations in The Bronx and 16 stations in Manhattan.
Manhattan stations include Lexington Avenue-59th Street, Lexington Avenue-53rd Street and 125th Street on the 4/5/6 line.
Although transit wireless is supposed to be done with all seven phases by the end of 2018, the company is ahead of schedule and hopes to finish by the end of 2017, according to CEO Bill Bayne.
"There are 279 underground stations in the network," Bayne said. "We have 146 complete today."
Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene was very enthusiastic about wireless coming to subway stations in The Bronx and said the concept would quickly become normal.
"Soon wireless services will not just be limited to particular subway stations," she said. "It will become the norm as we continue to grow as a borough and as a city."