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Transit Wireless, Time Warner Cable in Talks on NY Subway

Nov. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Time Warner Cable Inc. is in talks to join the coalition outfitting 277 New York City subway stations with wireless Internet service.

Transit Wireless, the business overseeing the $200 million project, said it’s having “active and ongoing” talks with Time Warner Cable, part of an effort to expand the number of companies involved. Wireless carriers AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA, and Boingo Wireless Inc., a Wi-Fi service provider, are already working on the effort.

“We’ve had discussions with Time Warner Cable around their Wi-Fi planning, and their interest in keeping customers connected to their network as part of their service offering,” said Bill Bayne, chief executive officer of Transit Wireless, a unit of Broadcast Australia in Chatswood, Australia.

Alex Dudley, a spokesman for New York-based Time Warner Cable, said the talks are still preliminary.

The project first began offering wireless service in September in six subway stations around Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. For now, Transit Wireless will only provide connections on subway platforms, not inside the tunnel. While the network is being built for expansion into tunnels, the challenge is trying to install antennas without disrupting train traffic, Bayne said.

Transit Wireless’s subway-networking plan had stalled in 2008 after the recession made it harder to get financing. The project moved forward again in 2010 when Broadcast Australia agreed to provide backing.

Under the deal with the New York City Transit Authority, Transit Wireless was given two years to wire six stations near 14th Street on Manhattan’s West Side. The company has as many as four more years to complete the remaining 271 underground stations.

To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Moritz in New York at smoritz6@bloomberg.net; Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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