MARTA plans on providing Wi-Fi and cellular access at all of their train stations and in tunnels within the next few years at no cost to the customers.
In fact, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authorities plans to make a profit from the deal they have structured, officials stated.
MARTA CEO Keith Parker said they “were assuming it would cost us several million dollars a year. And instead, our IT was able to pull together with the finance and procurement group to structure a deal that has the provider paying us for the privilege.”
If all goes as planned, a six-month pilot project would start in January with three stations — Five Points, Peachtree Center and Georgia Dome/Georgia World Congress Center and inside a tunnel that connects them. All 38 stations would feature cellular connectivity and Wi-Fi access by July 2018. The $25 million system would be designed, installed and maintained at no cost to MARTA.
In fact, the transit agency would profit from the deal. According to WSBTV, MARTA will get $1 million up front by signing the contract prior to construction. After the vendor signs up cellular carriers, it would provide MARTA with a 55 percent profit share for the first 10 years and 60 percent for the decade after that.
The profit-sharing agreement could bring in as much as $10 million in revenue to MARTA in the first decade and almost double that amount in years 11 through 20, according to the vendor’s estimates.
MARTA Chief Information Officer Ming Hsi, who presented details of the preferred vendor agreement said the board is set to vote on the contract sometime within the next month.