LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan has pledged to bring 4G connectivity to underground commuters by 2019.
We knew this was coming, and in a letter to the leaders of all 33 London local authorities on Thursday, Khan outlined his targets of "delivering 4G mobile connectivity to London Underground, both in station and tunnels from 2019, future-proofed ready for 5G."
London Underground stations already offer WiFi, but commuters have to pay for this (unless they're a customer of select mobile networks) and it doesn't cover tunnels between stations.
If Khan gets his way, as the Evening Standard reports, stations and tunnels could soon offer uninterrupted mobile coverage, which means loud-mouthed commuters will be able to make phone calls underground. Yippee.
"London is now a leading global tech hub, with thriving start-ups alongside major companies like Facebook, Amazon and Google," said Khan. "But our digital connectivity needs to be improved - internet connectivity is now a key public utility, and it is no surprise that some businesses see poor connectivity as a barrier to growth.
"If we are to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access a fast and reliable digital connection.
"That means working to boost connectivity across London - tackling not-spots, delivering connectivity in the London Underground and working with local authorities to provide digital infrastructure fitting of a global tech hub."
According to the Standard's report, tenders for the contract to deliver mobile coverage "are going out shortly", and it's widely-expected that EE, which has already been in discussions with Transport for London (TfL) as part of the Emergency Services Network contract, will be onboard, along with equipment makers Huawei and Airvana.
A trial of the underground technology is expected to take on the Waterloo & City line, where testing can take place at night and at the weekends when it is closed. The new Elizabeth Line, set to launch in December 2018, will have mobile connectivity from the get-go. µ
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