MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:24 am

Nice. The current system's plenty robust and convienent, so that's a spiffy enhancement. High-bandwidth equipment's dirt cheap nowadays too, so they'll probably spend a fraction of what they did first time around.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby StefanW » Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:41 pm

Ahhh, the NIMBY factor is alive and well. I can't (yet?) find a photo of what these "monopoles" look like, but I'll keep looking. IMHO the height of an antenna tower isn't as much of a big deal as the bulk of the antenna element(s) that are on the "pole".

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2017/06/09/wi-fi-poles-mbta-commuter-rail-tracks-anger-communities/
Ryan Kath, I-Team Correspondent for WBZ-TV News wrote:The MBTA is allowing a private company to install hundreds of 74-foot cell-tower like structures to provide the line-of-sight connectivity for the new system.

Many of the structures, known as monopoles, are proposed right in the middle of residential neighborhoods and will be installed next to the tracks on MBTA rights-of-way.


http://www.andovertownsman.com/news/mbta-seeks-approval-for--foot-poles-on-rr-tracks/article_072cc9e6-44d6-51f3-8066-1066bd3082be.html
Will Broaddus, AndoverTownsman.com wrote:The MBTA’s commuter trains come to Andover more than 20 times a day, and they generally run on time.

But when the board of selectmen asked for a visit from the agency, so they could ask about three new communication towers the MBTA plans to build in Andover, the service was less reliable.


http://concord.wickedlocal.com/news/20170606/concord-select-board-cant-stop-monopoles
Henry Schwan, The Concord Journal wrote:The MBTA plans to build three 74-foot monopoles along the commuter rail tracks in Concord, and Concord Select Board members acknowledged there’s nothing they can do to stop it.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby Ken W2KB » Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:58 pm

StefanW wrote:Ahhh, the NIMBY factor is alive and well. I can't (yet?) find a photo of what these "monopoles" look like, but I'll keep looking. IMHO the height of an antenna tower isn't as much of a big deal as the bulk of the antenna element(s) that are on the "pole".


Cellular providers and electric utility companies for electric transmission use monopoles, and the look is similar for multiple vendors. Here's one vendor site: http://www.nelloinc.com/wireless-cell-towers/monopole-towers.cfm

The antennas at the relevant frequencies would be relatively small given the very short wavelength.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:00 pm

They might get away with monopoles that look like "trees" instead of "towers",Just don't use the "Palm Tree" option! :wink:
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby BandA » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:14 pm

So, these monopoles are not for PTC or railroad signaling? Then they are not subject to STB jurisdiction.

After a few years these towers wont be noticed.

What frequencies & signal patterns will they use? They won't use WiFi as a WiFi repeater.

Didn't realize that WiFi infrastructure was covered by FCC preemption.

As a state agency the "T" needs to be responsive to cities & towns. Since it isn't transportation, they should side with the local towns.

Nice how the Massachusetts Historical Commission threw the locals under the commuter train without any hearings.

How safe are monopoles from blowing over & hitting a house? ROW are usually not super wide. Wouldn't want to live within the 80ft of these towers.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby dbperry » Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:35 pm

Correct, these monopoles are NOT dual-purposed for PTC.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby nomis » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:14 am

I thought some of them were, such as this 74' total height monopole in Lincoln on the Fitchburg line ... It just so happens this one is in a wetland buffer zone.
http://media.wix.com/ugd/3a3ac2_84568c69024d42b2b5e0955077ef7219.pdf

inMOTION and MBTA are currently planning improvements to the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line. These improvements include work areas within the existing active railroad right-of-way (ROW). Specifically, inMOTION and MBTA are proposing the construction of a monopole (concrete pols) tower for the purposes of complying with the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The undertaking associated with the development of the facility, best defined as a Positive Train Control (PTC) initiative facility, includes the construction of the concrete tower containing multiple arrays of inMOTION and PTC antennas.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby Trinnau » Wed Jun 14, 2017 5:36 pm

InMotion filed FCC applications with that wording and got slapped pretty hard for it by the MBTA. That's part of the reason why all the confusion abounds. As Dave said, WiFi monopoles are completely separate from and independent of PTC.
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Re: MBTA Internet (Wifi) on Commuter Rail

Postby StefanW » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:03 am

I just saw the July 31 FMCB item which links to a map of the proposed monopole locations. Since I'm big on mapping :-D I think it's worth checking out.

Short URL (from that FMCB doc): https://bit.ly/mbtawifipoles

Long URL (direct to the map): https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=1z62fFBG82_TBasr6arX5Z7w9Tzg&ll=42.35943050975168,-71.29797856523316&z=10

I think there are some notable gaps in the pole locations!
- nothing west of Fitchburg
- nothing on the Framingham Secondary (Foxboro)
- nothing south of Providence
- a really big gap on the NEC between Westwood (south of 128) and Canton, near the Norwood airport. Would a pole in that area be a hazard to planes?

Anyone else see gaps or lack of coverage besides those?
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