WiFi coming to TTC subway tunnels next year
TTC riders have started to get accustomed to WiFi in subway stations. While it might be annoying to take the time to log in on station platforms, at least there's a way to get online as you're waiting for a train or when you're stuck at station thanks to an inevitable delay.
Already, BAI Canada has rolled out TConnect - the TTC's WiFi network - at more than 40 stations across Toronto. There's also cellular service available at a host of stations, though only Freedom Mobile users can access it. The infrastructure is ready to go should a major carrier show interest in providing service within the TTC.
And as TTC spokesperson Brad Ross recently hinted on Twitter, the subway tunnels are next.
While Ross doesn't have specifics, the work that's been done during the subway station rollout puts us closer to the next stage. According to Ross, it's likely that sometime in 2018 WiFi will start to be installed in the tunnels.
This will undoubtedly be both a blessing and a curse; no one wants to sit next to someone who's streaming a video or Face-timing without wearing headphones.
As MobileSyrup previously reported, there are multiple challenges involved with these projects, including dated infrastructure and finding time to wire the trains during off-hours. Each train needs to be outfitted as a hotspot and additional wiring has to be installed throughout the vast tunnel network.
Getting the entire system up and running will likely stretch well beyond next year.
Toronto is lagging behind in its wireless capabilities on the subway. Transit systems in cities around the world, including Montreal, already have some sort of wireless network in their underground tunnels. BAI Communications, for instance, just completed its rollout of WiFi to all 279 underground subway stations in New York City.
Things move slowly here, but there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Update (January 6): The TTC has provided us with additional information regarding its cellular and WiFi rollout. At present, BAI Canada is installing cellular service in subway tunnels, which will come online over the next 12-18 months. Testing of the network is already taking place between Queen and Wellesley stations.
This will be available to Freedom Mobile customers only unless BAI can bring a major carrier on board to offer its services.
As reported above, the TTC and BAI also plan to install WiFi on subway trains, though Brad Ross characterizes next year (2018) as the earliest that such a project would commence. There is no firm date locked in at present, though it is certainly part of the plans for the subway system.
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