Case Study: MBTA Subway

InSite was awarded the right to design, build, operate and maintain a neutral host DAS in the MBTA’s 40 underground stations and connecting tunnels serving more than 200 million riders per year. (Note: Two previous attempts by other companies to build a DAS in the MBTA had failed.) InSite executed a contract with the MBTA in June 2005 and began construction of the first eight stations (Phase 1) in January 2006. The system launched with three carriers in December 2007. Phase 2 of the project—expansion on the MBTA Orange Line—was completed in February 2010 and service was launched in March 2010. The current system includes 40 stations, 21 miles of tunnels, 642 remote amplifiers, 454 antennas, and more than 82,535 feet of radiating cable. The system was completed in mid-2013.

The System

InSite paid 100% of the capital costs to construct the initial DAS infrastructure, which delivers coverage to station platforms, walkways and on trains travelling between stations. InSite leased space off MBTA property to locate its Base Station Hotel containing InSite’s Head End Equipment and Carrier BTS equipment. The location is directly adjacent to the MBTA and serves the entire underground MBTA throughout the cities of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville. The DAS is designed for coverage of commercial wireless and WiFi services in the subway system.

Sub Licenses

InSite has executed Master Sub-License Agreements (MLAs) with Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile for the subway. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile executed Site License Agreements (SLAs) for the initial eight stations and launched services in December 2007 and have expanded coverage as additional stations were brought online. InSite added 700 MHz LTE throughout the subway using Commscope/Andrew equipment in 2013 and is operating WiFi in stations for Comcast using Cisco infrastructure. Sprint connected to the MBTA DAS using SOLID Technologies equipment with LTE on 800 MHz SMR, 1900 MHz, and 2.5 GHz. The MBTA receives a fixed monthly payment per station for each carrier connected to the system.

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