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article imageThe connected tube: WiFi comes to London's trains

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2017 in Travel
London - The London underground network of tube trains is finally set to become fully WiFi enabled (currently only certain platforms are connected). The connectivity will go live during the course of 2017.
With no WiFi on its underground trains, London has lagged behind other major cities in the world for mobile phone coverage across the transport network. For sometime Metro passengers in Paris, New York, Berlin, Seoul and Tokyo have been able to access WiFi services.
The process of connecting London will begin in June 2017, The Guardian reports, when Transport for London (the public sector body that runs the tube network) will invite telecoms firms to bid to build the infrastructure to provide 4G WiFi coverage. Of the companies likely to bid, the BBC reports, are Virgin Media, which operates the WiFi infrastructure in place for underground station concourses and platforms. Other interested parties are likely to include British Telecom, which owns the network EE and Openreach, which is a subsidiary of British Telecom. BAI Communications, the Australian company, are also thought to be interested in bidding.
Announcing the plans Transport for London said: "We are keen to offer full mobile phone coverage for our customers. The introduction of this would need to be commercially viable and would follow engagement with staff and customers."
While coverage will be free to access there will be some advertising content that commuters will see the first time they connect to the service and following connection each time they board a train. It is unclear how intrusive this adverting will be. According to The Refinery which has reviewed Twitter conversations on the subject, Londoners seem "divided over whether it's a good thing or not, with many saying they dread having to listen to others' tedious phone calls."
Once the underground is fully connected this will meet London Mayor Sadiq Khan's manifesto pledge. The Labour Party politician stated his aim to have the underground fully connected when elected in 2016.
More about Wifi, London underground, tube trains, London
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