Leave it to America's biggest city to launch an equally big high-speed data network.

The New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN) was rolled out to 70 percent of the city's police precincts and firehouses on April 1, giving the city's first responders and employees a unique public safety and public service network.

"It's the first network of its scope certainly anywhere in the country in terms of the amount of area we're covering," said Nick Sbordone, spokesman for the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT), referring to New York City's 322 square miles. "The network is solely dedicated to city use, specifically not just for public safety, but for public service as well. It really is historic in that sense."

NYCWiN will run on 400 nodes across five boroughs -- with many of the access points perched on rooftops. New York City CIO Paul Cosgrave, in testimony to the City Council in February, said NYCWiN can support a diverse array of functions:


  • Nineteen city agencies developed about 53 unique applications for the network, including an expansion of automated vehicle location, a real-time technology to track the city's fleet.
  • The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is developing an automated water-meter-reading program.
  • The city Department of Transportation will use the wireless network to synchronize and time traffic signals to ease traffic congestion. Cosgrave testified that NYCWiN also will provide photos and video of traffic incidents and emergencies.

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Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor