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4G wireless coverage across Chicago subway network by end of 2015.

Posted by SmartRail World Staff on Oct 21, 2015

CTA_LOGO"This is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to invest in 21st century technology for Chicago’s world-class transit system..."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the completion of the first phase of a project to bring 4G wireless coverage to the Chicago Transit Authority subway system. Upon completion of the network upgrade, which is expected by the end of 2015, the City of Chicago will be the largest city in North America to have a subway system with full 4G wireless coverage across its entire system of subway stations and tunnels. The 4G wireless project is a $32.5 million deal, brokered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, with America’s four major wireless providers – T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint – to finance the network modernization.

Starting this week, CTA Blue Line O’Hare Branch riders have full 4G wireless coverage in the Kimball Subway, a 1.2-mile section serving the Logan Square and Belmont stations. Activation of 4G coverage in the remaining portions of the Blue and Red Line subways will occur in phases, with the entire Chicago subway network completed by year’s end.

“The addition of 4G coverage will ensure that CTA passengers can benefit from dependable data service while riding the subway,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Importantly, it will also improve communications for first-responders working inside the tunnel system. This is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to invest in 21st century technology for Chicago’s world-class transit system, and expand economic opportunity for more Chicagoans throughout the city.”

 In January 2015, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint collectively agreed to fund the design and construction of a next-generation Distributed Antenna System (DAS) capable of supporting the latest 4G wireless networks and mobile devices. 

The project will provide continuous 4G coverage in 22 miles of subway, from O’Hare airport and through the underground tunnels and platforms of the Red and Blue Lines, the CTA’s two busiest rail lines.

The network upgrade, which began earlier this year, will give millions of Chicago subway riders a faster mobile experience throughout their commutes. The design and installation of the system will create approximately 50 jobs.

“We’ve finished phase one of the project and by the end of 2015, the new network will be ready to provide an incredible 4G wireless experience to T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers that ride the Chicago subway enabling them to talk, chat, tweet, surf, or send and receive video calls while using the nation’s second largest public transportation system,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer, T-Mobile, the project’s lead wireless provider.

“4G wireless will not only improve customer experience by offering faster and more robust wireless services that supports today’s tablets and smartphones, but it also increases system safety measures by providing more reliable communication between CTA personnel and emergency responders,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter.

This initiative is one of several efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CTA President Carter to modernize the City’s infrastructure and further improve Chicago’s world-class transit system. Over the past four years, several technology improvements have been implemented across Chicago’s transit system, including expansion of CTA Train Tracker and Bus Tracker functionality, digital displays with service information at bus shelters and rail stations throughout the service region, and a dramatically expanded security camera network.

Leanne Redden, Executive Director (RTA Chicago), Joseph C. Szabo, Executive Director (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning), Samuel Smith, Director, Government and Community Relations, (Chicago Metra) are amongst the top level speakers at SmartRail USA Congress & Expo, Charlotte, North Carolina, 28-29th October 2015. It's the only show dedicated to driving innovation in passenger rail in the US. And, the only show of its kind that’s free!

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You may also be interested in:

SmartRail Speaks: Joseph C. Szabo, Executive Director, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

Google turns focus on Wi-Fi connectivity for Indian rail passengers.

Privately funded passenger Wi-Fi launches across Moscow Metro.

New Delhi railway station set to be India’s first to offer free WiFi.

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SmartRail USA Congress and Expo 2015

Topics: IT and WiFi, Telecommunications

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