This week, BAI Canada and the TTC officially launched free advertising-supported WiFi at Bloor - Yonge and St. George Stations. The WiFi service, TCONNECT, lets subway riders at the stations access social media, e-mail and the internet on the platform and in other public areas of the stations. These first two stations are Toronto’s busiest, accommodating about 25 per cent of the TTC’s subway riders each weekday.
BAI Canada is building a shared wireless WiFi and cellular infrastructure in the TTC subway system that will allow wireless communications services in underground subway stations. Eventually, each station will host the TCONNECT WiFi service and be cellular-capable, ready for the GTA’s cellular operators to sign onto the service.
This week’s official launch followed a two-week “soft” launch, when passengers at these stations had the opportunity to test the TCONNECT WiFi network first-hand.
BAI Canada and the TTC are delivering WiFi and cellular infrastructure to all subway stations, covering all public areas including platforms, mezzanines, walkways and stairwells in 65 current and planned underground stations. BAI Canada is paying the TTC $25 million over 20 years for the rights to install and operate the network.
BAI Canada says it’s is building a robust, high-quality network in Toronto for the TTC and its riders. BAI Canada will own and operate the subway wireless communications network and function as a single point of contact for all Toronto licensed wireless service providers to extend their cellular services to the TTC’s more than 1.7 million daily riders.
If you see the Wi-Fi Station sign at any TTC stations, you will be able to connect your Wi-Fi enabled device (smartphone, tablet or laptop) to the TCONNECT network. To connect your device to the Wi-Fi network select the Wi-Fi network, “TCONNECT” in your device’s Wi-Fi setting. Once you select the network, open an internet browser like Chrome for an Android device, Safari on an Apple device, Blackberry Browser on a Blackberry device or third-party browsers like Opera or Firefox. Once the browser is opened you will see the welcome screen with instructions for access.
TCONNECT is ad-supported, meaning an advertiser is sponsoring the Wi-Fi service with short ads. This service comes at no cost — no cost for passengers to sign onto the network and no cost to the TTC, TTC riders or Toronto taxpayers for the work to install the infrastructure. In fact, it will generate revenue for the TTC.
In the first phase, Wi-Fi coverage between stations and in tunnels will not be available, but, as soon as the train enters the next Wi-Fi-enabled station devices will automatically reconnect to the Internet. In the second phase of the project, BAI will extend the cellular network in the TTC tunnels and expects to finish all work is in three to four years.
If you have questions or difficulty assessing the TCONNECT Wi-Fi network send a message to info@TCONNECT.ca or call the TCONNECT Help Desk at 416-777-WiFi (9434).
BAI Canada is part of a group of global experts that design, build, operate, maintain and own communication networks. BAI Canada is a subsidiary of Canadian-owned BAI Group, a leader in wireless communications for underground transit systems, broadcast communications, private radio networks and online communications. BAI Group is building and operating the wireless network in the New York subway. It has also been involved in deploying and maintaining communication networks for some of the most complex subway systems around the world, including Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation.