Lost time, as you whizz your way across the capital, will soon be seen as a thing of the past, as the team at Transport for London have announced their pledge to give mobile users access to 4G across the entire underground network.
So, prepare to wave farewell to connectivity black-spots. The days of coming above ground to find strings of missed calls and notifications will soon be a distant memory.
The aim is to connect the entire underground network by the middle of the 2020s. A trial is already underway on the eastern half of the Jubilee line, between Westminster and Canning Town. As well as enabling 4G connections, the new technology will also allow passengers to connect using 2G, 3G and potentially 5G in the future.
Research shows that commuters and business travellers view travel time as much more worthwhile, when they have access to a connection. Travelling time can be used to prepare or catch up on tasks, to join a conference call or even to collaborate on a project with a team-member who is back at base.
It’s estimated that over 1,200 miles of cabling will be laid down as part of the mammoth project, equal to the distance from London to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík! All of this work will need to be down outside of peak hours, in order to minimise disruption for passengers.
Shashi Verma, chief technology officer at Transport for London, said: “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.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “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.”
This won’t be the first data connectivity available for an underground rail network. Passengers on Paris, Melbourne, Tokyo and New York’s subway systems can already stay connected.