The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in the US is offering 4G wireless service across all its Blue Line subways.
The project is the latest milestone in Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel’s aim to bring 4G wireless coverage across CTA’s 22 miles of subway stations and tunnels on the Blue and Red Lines.
Following the completion of Red Line by the end of this year, CTA will be the largest public transit system in the US with 4G coverage in all subway stations and tunnels.
Initiated earlier this year, the network upgrade will give Chicago subway riders a faster mobile experience throughout their commutes.
According to CTA, the design and installation of the system will create about 50 jobs.
Emanuel said: "Blue Line riders no longer will have to worry about losing cell phone service on their way downtown or on a trip to O’Hare.
"By the end of this year, CTA will have full wireless coverage throughout its subways as part of our continued effort to invest in 21st century technology for Chicago’s world-class transit system.
"The coverage will also improve communications for first responders working inside the tunnel system."
CTA Blue Line riders currently have full 4G wireless coverage across 13 miles of Blue Line subway sections near O’Hare Airport, Logan Square and downtown Chicago.
The $32.5m 4G wireless project is being undertaken by wireless providers T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint under an agreement with the Chicago Infrastructure Trust.
In January, 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.
T-Mobile Engineering vice-president Jennifer Silveira said: "With 4G LTE service now available throughout the CTA Blue Line, Chicago public transit riders from O’Hare to downtown will have the four largest wireless providers in the US, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, to connect them to friends and family throughout their commute."
Image: The Blue Line terminus at O’Hare International Airport. Photo: courtesy of bclinesmith via Wikipedia.