AT&T customers will now get wireless data while in L train tunnel

Photo by Mark Hallum

The MTA has finished yet another improvement to the L train as customers will now get wireless access on their phones while passing through the Canarsie Tunnel, the first in the city to give commuter seamless cellular connection.

AT&T, the service provider, will provide bars to straphangers at no additional cost to the MTA, which announced that it would contribute to their revenue.

“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,” New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg said. “Giving our riders the ability to use 21st century connectivity in more parts of our system is a huge part of those efforts.” 

Governor Andrew Cuomo counted this as another win in the L train saga which started with Superstorm Sandy flooding the Canarsie Tunnel in 2012. Damage to the tunnel prompted the MTA to consider closing it entirely for 15 months starting in 2019, but in the eleventh hour pulled the breaks with a new plan from Cornell University.

“The L Line project was proof that when we are confronted with a challenge we can build back better and stronger,” Cuomo said. “The L 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.”

The fiber-reinforced polymer inside the tunnel was a first for the MTA who changed course from the full closure to just a night and weekend suspension of service.

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