On Monday, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer made a direct appeal to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) asking the agency to kick start plans to bring free wireless Internet to the entire Long Island Rail Road LIRR) system, including all trains, platforms and stations. Plans to bring wireless internet to the LIRR have been in the works for months but the MTA has still not acted.
Schumer said the technology to wire the system is readily available and asked the MTA to fast track the pilot projects and the Request for Proposal and approval process saying that if the MTA acts fast, the project may be eligible for federal funding passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
"The time for high speed Internet on rapid transit is right now. It is long past time to bring the LIRR in to the 21st century and wireless Internet will make commuting more productive and pleasant for LIRR riders. The technology is ready and raring to go so its time for the MTA to get rolling," Schumer said.
Several Internet and media providers have expressed interest in providing wireless Internet service on the LIRR. While the typical procurement process could take months or even years to complete, Schumer asked Interim MTA Executive Director Helena Williams to fast track its approval and consider a implementing a pilot program that could be up and running before the end of the year, adding that there are significant customer benefits of adding wireless Internet service to LIRR trains.