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Mobile phones going underground

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A fantastic new £1.2 billion scheme will allow tragic cellphone users to tell their loved ones that they’re "on the train" from deep underground on the London tube. A consortium of leading telecommunication companies including Motorola and Racal Electronics will equip the entire network with the wonderful new system over the next 20 years -- pretty fast work, eh? A London Underground spokesman said the deal would mean "improved safety and reliability and the real prospect of using mobile phones in deep-level Tube stations". And exactly how will it do that, pray? If you really can't bear being unable to order a pizza for the two minutes you spend waiting on the platform, then maybe you should try therapy. Technical issues which so far remain unaddressed include: How will the average cellphone user manage to pack 15 minutes' worth of boring waffle into the average two to three minute gap between trains? If the new network is also to be used to provide up-to-the-minute customer information about what kind of leaves are delaying your train today, how will anyone be able to hear what you’re saying over the station's megawatt PA system? As the average ambient noise level in a tube train is between 80 and 90dBa, how will anyone be able to hear what you're saying whilst on the train? How will you retrieve your phone from the track after it's been chucked down there by irate fellow passengers? ®

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