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Cablevision turns on Wi-Fi access at 11 NJ Transit stations

Wed, 01/29/2014 - 12:51pm
Mike Robuck

Cablevision’s Optimum WiFi service is now live at 11 NJ Transit stations.

The 11stations, which include the major hubs of NJ Transit, were the first to be outfitted with Optimum WiFi as part of the 20-year partnership between NJ Transit and Cablevision that was announced in June. Cablevision said future phases of the project would include equipping additional train stations and ultimately rail cars by line via a dedicated, trackside Wi-Fi network.

Optimum WiFi is now available for NJ Transit customers at Hoboken Terminal, Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction, Meadowlands, Metropark, Montclair State University, New Brunswick, Newark Broad Street, Rahway, Summit and Trenton Transit Center.

“This public-private partnership will enable NJ Transit to deliver on one of the top requests from our customers—wireless Internet access at stations, and ultimately onboard trains,” said NJ Transit Executive Director James Weinstein. “We are excited to work with Cablevision to further enhance the overall customer experience on our system by offering a dedicated Wi-Fi connection, enabling those who wish to remain connected during their commute to do so continuously.”

Wi-Fi access is available at the stations’ platforms, in waiting areas and waiting rooms, and in areas adjacent to the stations as well as the various concourses between other transit systems. Users can connect to the service on their devices by selecting “optimumwifi” from the list of available wireless networks.

Cablevision subscribers can gain unlimited access to the service by entering their Optimum Online IDs and passwords. Commuters who aren’t Optimum Online customers can sign up for up to five free one-day passes per device for the lifetime of the device, or can purchase a day pass, which expires at midnight on the date of purchase. The day pass, which costs $4.99, also includes access to the Optimum WiFi’s network of more than 100,000 hotspots across the Tri-State Area.

The deal between Cablevision and NJ Transit was first broached four years ago when NJ Transit issued an RFP. Over the last several years, Cablevision has also been working with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to provide Wi-Fi to its commuter train users, but no deal has been announced.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is North America's largest transportation network, serving a population of 15.1 million people in the 5,000-square-mile area fanning out from New York City through Long Island, southeastern New York State, and Connecticut, according to its Website.

NJ Transit is the third largest transit system in the country with 164 rail stations, 61 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.

Cablevision has conducted trials to demonstrate that Wi-Fi was technically sound abroad the commuter trains. One of the goals of the trials was to prove that Wi-Fi could operate at higher speeds and provide more bandwidth than cellular services.

The NJ Transit agreement includes the implementation and maintenance of a Wi-Fi network that allows Cablevision to offer wireless Internet service at rail and intermodal stations, on station platforms and onboard trains by installing a high-speed communications infrastructure. 

The infrastructure includes fiber optic cabling, wireless access points, antennas and related equipment in stations, along the right-of-way and onboard vehicles. Ruckus Wireless lists Cablevision as one of its customers on the company’s website.

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