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Metro Expects Better Cell Service by Mid-October

Been waiting for some good news from Metrorail this month? The transit authority says that work is underway to upgrade the wireless service underground. Riders who use services other than Verizon should be able to make calls and access the Internet from 20 of the busiest underground stations by mid-October. (Of course, not every rider is going to see this as good news.)

Metro had announced the upgrade program earlier this year, but the timetable is more specific.

"This is the first phase of Metro's effort to bring expanded cell phone carrier service to the entire Metrorail system by 2012," Suzanne Peck, Metro's chief information officer, said in a statement today. "After we complete the first 20 stations this fall, the carriers will install service at the remaining 27 underground stations by the fall of 2010. Customers will be able to use these carrier-provided wireless services in tunnels between stations by October 2012."

Under this program, users of Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile. will be able to to make calls, send text messages or surf the Web from the 20 stations starting Oct. 16.

During the next two months, Metro said, the wireless companies will install a network at these stations: Ballston, Bethesda, Columbia Heights, Crystal City, Dupont Circle, Farragut North, Farragut West, Federal Center SW, Foggy Bottom, Friendship Heights, Gallery Place, Judiciary Square, L'Enfant Plaza, McPherson Square, Metro Center, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Rosslyn, Smithsonian and Union Station.

People who use those stations will see large, cabinet-like enclosures installed for the hardware at the ends of the platforms or on the mezzanines.

Under this deal, the companies also are building a new wireless network that Metro will own and operate for its own communications.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 18, 2009; 11:16 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, wireless service  
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Just what Metro needs. More idiots talking loudly about stupid sh@t. Who made this decision? The same idiot that decided to take the poles out of the cars so there is nothing to hold on to.

Posted by: ChairmanX | August 18, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Just what we need. Now we can listen to everyone blather on. Forget wireless, fix the trains.

Posted by: jckdoors | August 18, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, Sprint customers have always had wireless service in the underground stations by roaming on the Verizon network.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | August 18, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

This is horrible news. Talking on a cell phone in a metro car, usually so loud everyone hears your conversation, is a nusiance and should be illegal just like playing music, eating, and drinking currently are.

Posted by: ronterp | August 18, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of people who are rudely loud when making phonecalls, but some just have normal-volume conversations - we just notice the loud ones... Besides, there will also be plenty of people that just use the expanded cell phone service to surf the web and send text messages. I currently have Verizon and it supposedly has coverage in the Metro, but because it drops out in the tunnels, I quickly gave up on having any phone conversation on the Metro.
But it can be useful and for many less stressful to be able to text back and forth with someone on the outside during a delay.

Posted by: data-driven24 | August 18, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"More idiots talking loudly about stupid sh@t" - happens now between two people on the train.

"Now we can listen to everyone blather on" - again, how is this different that 2 people on the training blathering to each other??

"Talking on a cell phone in a metro car, usually so loud everyone hears your conversation, is a nusiance and should be illegal" - then so should talking loudly to the person next to you.

Posted by: r6345 | August 18, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

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