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ICYMI: Governor Cuomo Announces L Line East River Tunnel First with Full Cellular Connectivity in New York

New York City Transit
Updated September 3, 2020 9:00 a.m.

L Line is First Under-River Subway Tunnel with Full Connectivity in New York City


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today [Sept. 2] announced that work has been completed to bring cellular voice and data connections in the   line tunnel under the East River. The MTA and New York- based company, Transit Wireless, has launched full connectivity so that AT&T customers are now able to use their phones and other devices between 1st Avenue and Bedford Avenue on the   line, making this under-river tunnel the first in the New York City Subway to receive cellular connectivity.

"The   Line project was proof that when we are confronted with a challenge we can build back better and stronger," Governor Cuomo said. "The   Train is now equipped with cellular service so New Yorkers can stay connected even when underground. We challenged those who said this project couldn't be done, and as a result, the MTA has delivered a more resilient tunnel with 21st century technology."

MTA Construction & Development President Janno Lieber said, "We were able to piggyback on the work already being done in the tunnel for the   Project to provide this cellular connectivity to our customers without additional impacts on service. This is a nice benefit for our customers and it's the sort of work we will look to do at our other tunnel crossings."

NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg said, "Even with the challenges the MTA is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to enhancing and modernizing the subway system, especially when it comes to tools that enhance customer and employee safety. Giving our riders the ability to use 21st century connectivity in more parts of our system is a huge part of those efforts." 

Transit Wireless Chief Executive Officer Melinda White said, "Transit Wireless is excited to expand its partnership with MTA. Wireless connectivity in the Canarsie Tunnel is another example of MTA's commitment to improve the rider experience, while laying the foundation for future 5G services." 

The new connectivity comes at no cost to the MTA, which will receive revenue from the project. This work was done concurrently with the post-Superstorm Sandy repairs and other upgrades performed as part of the   project in order to minimize impact to customers by taking advantage of pre-existing outages. 

The rollout of wireless broadband in the Canarsie tunnel advances the MTA's existing wireless connectivity initiatives.  

  • Working with Transit Wireless, the MTA has rolled out broadband to all underground subway stations. 
  • Working with AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon the MTA has rolled out broadband connectivity for Metro-North customers in Grand Central, the Grand Central train shed, and Park Avenue Tunnel that extends from Grand Central to E 97 St. 
  • Working with Boingo, the MTA is rolling out broadband connectivity in the Long Island Rail Road's tunnels under Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, and the tunnels the LIRR will use to access Grand Central Terminal when East Side Access opens in 2022. 

The MTA maintains broadband cell connectivity in the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel in conjunction with a consortium of cell carriers. 

The tunnel phase of the   Project was completed ahead of schedule. More information on the project is available here.