BAI Canada runs the underground Wi-Fi and cellular networks for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway stations and platforms, a 20-year contract it won for the price of $25 million back in 2013.
The National Post recently got a tour of BAI Canada’s infrastructure, where the latter also shared some data about usage on the company’s Wi-Fi and data networks.
The network now consists of 27 online stations, seeing 60,000 log-ons per day, made possible by 175 kilometres of cable distributed throughout tunnels, all leading back to BAI Canada’s “base station hotel”, the company’s server room located underground at their Yonge-Bloor office building. The Wi-Fi system has a battery backup which offers four hours of usage, in the event of power outages.
BAI Canada’s infrastructure powers sponsored Wi-Fi, but also has the capability for wireless carriers to tap into the cellular network, which WIND Mobile currently does, as part of an exclusive contract announced last year (it expires in June). Currently, Rogers, TELUS and Bell have not signed onto the network, as it appears they do not want to pay for access.
Ranger says “Our business is to get infrastructure down here and then layer as many services on it as we can,” adding sponsored Wi-Fi does not justify expenses alone.
Responding to complaints about connectivity, Ranger explains the network was not designed to connect users the moment they enter stations on a moving train, saying “It can at times, but it is a platform service.”
The CEO also noted the backlash from a recent sponsored Wi-Fi campaign, which required a Twitter account to log in, revealing he received “hundreds of emails,” and hinted the feedback was important in helping them decide to possibly not repeat that requirement again.
How are you liking BAI Canada’s wireless network within TTC stations?