If you've always wanted more people talking on their cell phones inside Metro, you just got your wish. Metro just announced:
"riders will be able to call home from any cell phone, access the Internet from any Web-enabled cell phone and eventually have Wi-Fi access in the rail system, under an agreement approved Thursday by Metro’s Board.
Four major cell phone companies -- Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile -- will build a new wireless infrastructure in the underground rail system during the next four years."
According to the release, the wireless contract will generate a minimum of nearly $25 million during the initial 15-year term and an additional $27 million during the five, two-year renewal terms. We hope that's the case. Let's also hope they don't half ass it like NYC tried by allowing service only in the stations!
Good job Metro! You were a trailblazer in 1993, and this is certainly promising.
We thought the timing of this announcement was interesting since we just asked Metro yesterday about why Verizon had the monopoly. This is the answer delivered just this morning:
Thank you for your inquiry concerning and Metro. Verizon is the only current cell phone provider in the tunnels because Verizon was the only firm which decided to make the considerable investment necessary to provide that service. Other cell firms would be welcomed to establish service in the tunnels. WMATA is currently working to implement a procurement process which will, in due course, establish the infrastructure to carry cellular service by all major providers. We hope to be in a position to award a contract soon. Please be advised, however, that this will be an enormous, and very expensive, construction project which will probably take several years to complete. Thus, while the process to expand cellular service is well underway, it will be some time before customers will be able to utilize those expanded services. I hope this information helps to address your inquiry.
WaPo wasn't asleep after all.