The mobile trial was first announced in July 2019 with the intention of bringing 4G connectivity to a section of the Tube for the first time, alongside the existing Wi-Fi capability on station platforms.
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The trial section will cover the platforms and tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town on the Jubilee Line, including ticket halls and corridors within stations along this section, with the exception of London Bridge and Waterloo stations, where the signal will just be available on the Jubilee Line platforms.
The project is intended to result in all platforms and tunnels on the entire Jubilee Line having 4G access by the end of the year.
“We are the UK’s number one network and we are excited to be taking our award-winning 4G connectivity underground into London’s Tube network,” said O2 COO Derek McManus. “Not only will the project bring much-needed service to commuters across London, it will also mean thousands of fans travelling to the O2 for the best live entertainment events in the UK will now be able to share their experiences with friends and family, before and after a show.
“We are proud to be working with TfL and other mobile network operators to bring connectivity to where our customers need it most and we are excited to see the future potential of this project as it expands across the Tube network.”
Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division, and owner of EE which came on board the project in December 2019 added: “This is a big step for both connectivity, and for London. We’re looking forward to seeing how our customers use 4G on the Underground – it’s a big step forward for keeping entertained, and keeping in touch. We know how valuable that is, and this switch on aims to pave the way for a wider rollout across the Underground.”
The Jubilee Line trial aims to pave the way for a wider network roll-out across the entire Underground in the coming years, providing network signal to the five million commuters who use the service every day.
It is also part of a bigger ambition to extend fibre broadband services to homes and business in London that currently lack high-speed connectivity, said Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer to the mayor of London last summer when the mobile element was first announced.
“Underground mobile services will see hundreds of kilometres of fibre laid in tunnels, creating a new fibre backbone for London,” he said. “This backbone will also start connecting public buildings owned by TfL and local councils near Tube stations to create local fibre hubs to support last-mile fibre connectivity to homes and businesses in currently underserved neighbourhoods across London.”
Once the project is completed, more than 2,000km of cabling will have been laid through London Underground’s tunnels. The 4G trial will be used to gather experience of delivering mobile services, ahead of awarding a concession to deliver mobile coverage across the whole Tube network this summer.
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