Transport for London (TfL) has announced consumers will have another way to avoid eye contact on the London Underground from next year.
Starting on the Jubilee line from March 2020, 4G data services will be introduced to the cramp and sweaty tunnels which move millions of Londoners around the city each day. For those who dread the prospect of talking to somebody else during the morning commute, this will be another way to avoid any contact with humans.
“The London Underground network is an incredibly challenging environment in which to deliver technological improvements, but we are now well on the path to delivering mobile connectivity within our stations and tunnels,” said Shashi Verma, TfL’s CTO.
“We have begun the complex work to allow our customers to be able to get phone reception within our tunnels from March 2020, with more stations and lines coming online during the coming years.”
This is of course an immensely complicated job when you consider the environment and the fact most of the underground infrastructure was designed in the years before the internet was even a concept. That said, TfL has now laid hundreds of miles of cables to enable the connectivity and is currently in discussions with the telcos to deliver connectivity underground.
“I’m delighted that we will be introducing mobile connectivity to the London Underground from next March,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan. “This is a really important step for the millions of people who use the Tube each year.
“Introducing 4G and, in the future, 5G will help Londoners and visitors keep in touch and get the latest travel information while on the go. London is the best place to live, visit and work – and projects like this will help make it even better.”
TfL is currently trialling 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services along a section of tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town, with the next stage of procurement for the concessionaire beginning shortly. TfL plans to award the connectivity contract by next summer.