Tube to get phone coverage by the Olympics
But are you happy to
listen to annoying jibber-jabber pay for it?
London's tube network will become mobile-friendly by next year, according to Mobile Magazine, which reckons a contract is only weeks away. London taxes will be subsidising this contract.
That contract is said to be worth £150m, which will be spent by the network operators to provide both 2G and 3G coverage to the entire network, including between stations, but the annual running costs will need public money to make the project worthwhile, the quantity of which remains a sticking point.
Mobile Magazine reports that Thales and Huawei are up for keeping the system running, but details about who will pay and how much they will pay are still the subject of debate.
Connecting up London's tube network is technically very difficult - the depth of the tunnels makes signal propagation limited, and their girth (only marginally larger than the trains that fit though them, unlike other networks that frequently have a walkway beside the trains) makes fitting and maintenance expensive. There's also the question of what return operators can expect from their investment.
In the past there has been talk of connecting up station platforms for voice communications at least, which would be technically easier and have an obvious revenue stream, but on the trains themselves voice calls would be impossible when the network is busy, and hampered by the noise of the train any other time. More useful is data connectivity, for those Kindle-touting commuters - there isn't space for an iPad during rush hour, but one can generally manage a paperback book or electronic equivalent.
But that's not going to bring in any immediate revenue for the network operators, and if (as Mobile Magazine reports) all the UK operators are involved then there's no advertising opportunity either - so why bother doing it?
Boris, mayor of London, would like to see it happen and is apparently prepared to stump up an annual management fee to make it so, which is nice for those who want to scream "I'm on the tube", but less nice for the rest of us who'll end up paying for them to do so. ®
If people really must telephone on the train
Then there should be a red cast iron telephone box mounted in a separate carriage.
Users will form an orderly queue and follow the instructions provided to talk to the operator. Once they are 'put through' in the modern parlance, and so long as the operator is satisfied that the recipient is not working class, the user will deposit their shilling pieces in the slot and press the A button.
Calls will last no longer than two minutes and must always be terminated with a cheery 'goodbye'.
Failure to obey these common sense rules will result in the automatic release of the box's resident alcoholic.
Crazy! ALL taxpayers PAY so a privileged FEW can call? Britain is nuts.
Why is it that other countries actually SELL the rights to cell companies to place their signals in subways yet London is going to PAY someone to do it.
Something is wrong. Or the thinking is wrong.
The technology is simple: lengths of 'leaky co-ax' antenna fed from technology cubicles at each station. Stations and those 'American Wear Wolf in London' passages and stairs can be covered by access point antennae or yet more leaky co-ax.
The corporate infrastructure is more tricky. Often a holding company, owned by the railway operator, owns the infrastructure and simply rents access to it by anyone wanting to place signals in the tunnels.
Why it has to be tied to the Olympics is beyond me, no one seemed to be too unhappy before cells took over our lives.
There is absolutely NO reason for the taxpayer to be paying ANYTHING!
Everyone pulls out their cell
Network falls over and dies.
Those shiny wires aren't aerials
Well they might be now, but their original function is to allow a telephone handset to be clipped to them for emergency communication and to cut the traction power when an electrical load is detected.
Met and Jubilee don't share
Just because the Metropolitan and Jubilee lines share the same route between Finchley Road and Baker Street doesn't mean they share the same tunnels and so they cannot share the same radio signal.