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London won't see mobile network on the tube in time for the Olympics

Don't blame Boris
Fri Apr 01 2011, 14:37

PLANS TO OFFER a mobile network on the tube by June 2012 have been put on ice.

Avoiding jokes about delays on the tube, it seems that the London Underground won't have a mobile network for the Olympics. It seems that the mobile network operators contracted by Transport fot Loneon (TFL) can't quite fathom the archaic infrastructure that holds the tube together.

O2, Vodafone, Three and Everything Everywhere won the tender from TFL to install a 3G network at tube stations on platforms, concourses and even in the tunnels. These companies have issued a joint statement to say they can't get the mobile network up and working in time for the Olympics.

"We have been working closely with infrastructure partners and London Underground for some time with the hope of delivering mobile services to the London Underground and are disappointed that it will not be possible to deliver such services in time for next year's Olympic games," O2's spokespeople told the INQURER.

The Wall Street Journal said that some of its sources fingered problems with finding power supplies and tracking down where the equipment was meant to go. Sounds rather like they didn't try turning the lights on. To be fair, the pride of Victorian London was dug so deep it has made modern tube 2.0 upgrades difficult to implement.

3G might have hit the skids but the WiFi roll out is still on track. Bubble blonde headed Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is looking to negotiate contracts to install WiFi on the Underground, which is going to be heaven or hell depending on your view. BT worked with Transport for London (TFL) on a WiFi pilot scheme at Charing Cross, which apparently was considered a success.

Don't go pinning the blame on Boris for 3G going nowhere, though. Boris has a reasonable excuse because, being a politician, he didn't actually offer a definitive plan of action when he said he wanted a mobile network on the tube. He only said he wanted to have 3G installed on the tube but left the contractors to find their own way through the dark Underground caverns. µ


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