Metro-North running secret Wi-Fi pilotBy
As the MTA gears up to bring Wi-Fi service to its commuter rail trains, The Post reports today that one train car is already equipped with service, but the MTA isn’t saying which one. Annie Karni says the MTA is a running a “covert, three-month pilot program” during which one car on the New Haven Line will enjoy Wi-Fi service. The car, she reports, has “an outside antenna that receives a cellular signal from AT&T. Inside the car, a router converts cell service to Wi-Fi.”
For its part, the MTA is holding back on revealing which car it is yet because the service is, in the words of an agency spokesperson, “not ready for prime time.” All New Haven Line riders should now furiously check their laptops and smart phones for an open wireless network while heading back home.
In other Wi-Fi news, The Post says the MTA is “currently reviewing three proposals to carry Wi-Fi throughout the Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road systems and to provide 32-inch digital screens in cars for advertising and real-time updates about schedules and delays.” According to this report, installing these screens could cost up to $38,000 per car, a figure which seems absurdly high. I know retrofitting older rolling stock with new technology carries significant costs, but considering the price of a digital screen, that one seems excessive to me.