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Author Topic: 4G on the tube  (Read 6188 times)
Transport Scholar
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« on: July 19, 2019, 11:40:32 am »

From TfL» (Transport for London - about):

4G on Jubilee line tunnel section from March 2020
19 July 2019
4G phone signal will allow customers - for the first time - to check emails, plan meeting up with friends and keep in contact while traveling through the tunnels or on Jubilee line platforms in east London
  •     Hundreds of miles of cabling now installed across the network and TfL is in discussion with mobile network operators to ensure their customers can benefit when the first section goes live
  •     Next stage of procurement for concessionaire to make 4G services available across the rest of the network will commence shortly, allowing the whole of the London Underground network to have mobile connectivity by the mid-2020s
  •     Introduction key part of mayoral ambition to improve digital connectivity at home, in our high streets, public spaces, stations and now right across the transport network

The eastern half of the Jubilee line will get full mobile connectivity within station platforms and tunnels for the first time from March 2020 - helping to remove one of the most high-profile mobile 'not-spots' in the UK (United Kingdom) - Transport for London (TfL) confirmed today.

The trial section, which will cover the platforms and tunnels between Westminster and Canning Town, will allow customers to check for the latest travel information, catch up on social media and read their emails or the latest news uninterrupted as part of their journey. It will build on the existing free WiFi service that TfL offers both within more than 260 WiFi-enabled London Underground stations and on TfL Rail services. The service will also cover ticket halls and corridors within stations along this section of the Jubilee line, with the exception of London Bridge and Waterloo stations which, subject to final approvals, will be added later during 2020.

TfL has been working to bring mobile connectivity to the below ground sections of London Underground, as part of a range of measures announced by the Mayor Sadiq Khan to boost digital connectivity across the capital and tackle London's areas of poor connectivity.

The trialling of 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services along this section of the London Underground network will allow TfL and the mobile operators to gain valuable experience of delivering mobile services on the Underground ahead of awarding a concession to deliver mobile coverage across the whole Underground network. The next stage of procurement for the concessionaire will begin shortly, with a look to award the contract by Summer 2020.

By installing cabling within tunnels and stations in advance of awarding the concession, TfL can better manage station access, reduce the amount of disruption these works may cause to customers and allow the concessionaire to then quickly utilise infrastructure once the final contract is awarded. TfL has also begun discussions with mobile network operators to ensure they can access the infrastructure for the pilot so their customers can benefit when the technology goes live.

I'm not sure quite how complete a radio system is being installed for this concessionaire to operate, and what the interface with the MNOs will be:
Jasmine Whitbread, CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of London First, said:

'This is a welcome step on the journey to delivering widespread internet connectivity on London's tube network - enabling people to stay in touch on public transport will boost the capital's productivity.

'We look forward to the transformative impact that further projects to improve digital infrastructure on the London Underground will have for the capital, including the programme to deliver better, more real-time customer information throughout the Tube network.'

Delivering mobile connectivity within the London Underground network, which is one of the world's largest underground networks and used by more than five million passengers a day, is extremely challenging. Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling are expected to have been installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will need to be fitted outside of operational hours. With the Night Tube around the clock on Fridays and Saturdays, this limits the number of hours engineers can work on the project a week. The space between the trains and the tunnel walls is also often narrow, with little room to safely install equipment, meaning that any work need to be carefully planned and carried out to avoid potential disruption.

Following the launch of the formal procurement process last summer, TfL has now shortlisted four bidders who will be invited to tender for the concession, the next stage of which will begin shortly. Over the last few months, TfL has been working with the shortlisted bidders to help them understand the complexities of working within a transport network which first opened more than 150 years ago, as well as to ensure the tender documentation correctly reflects the latest opportunities for providing better connectivity on our network.

The system will also host the Home Office's new Emergency Services Network which will replace the existing Airwave system currently used by the Police, Fire Services and emergency response teams across Britain. By aligning the projects, TfL has ensured that the latest requirements for the Emergency Services Network are fully incorporated, reducing the need for additional contracts or amendments in the future.

What is London First? I'm not sure; it seems to be a kind of chamber of commerce - but what is its role in this project?
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« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2019, 04:46:26 pm »

Note that this is the new, larger, relatively straight Jubilee Line Extension - I gather it's very unlikely this will be expanded to the older parts of the Deep Tube as the curves and extremely limited clearances make it impractical.
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2019, 05:06:28 pm »

Note that this is the new, larger, relatively straight Jubilee Line Extension - I gather it's very unlikely this will be expanded to the older parts of the Deep Tube as the curves and extremely limited clearances make it impractical.

I have also seen references that this is a pilot and it will be extended to the whole network.  There is specific reference to working in narrow tunnels from London First.  London First also point out that this will be a requirement for the much delayed emergency services network.
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« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2019, 08:09:54 pm »

I hope but won't hold my breath that this is limited to data and that voice calls will be blocked whether they be through the network provider or apps such as WhatsApp. The tube is noisy enough as it is without some noisy ***** shouting into their phone.
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2021, 11:25:53 pm »

Last year there was an announcement that a concession would be let for the full system after a competitive tender, and today that contract was announced. This is the TfL» (Transport for London - about) press release minus the quotes:
Mayor fulfils commitment and confirms high-speed mobile coverage across Tube network
22 June 2021

High speed mobile coverage will be delivered across London Underground alongside a new full-fibre network to provide London's homes and businesses with faster internet and better connectivity

Customers on London Underground will be able to access full mobile connectivity and internet access within every station and tunnel, the Mayor of London has today announced.

TfL has awarded a 20-year concession to BAI Communications (BAI) which will enable mobile coverage on the whole Tube network, helping to remove one of the most high-profile mobile 'not-spots' in the UK (United Kingdom).

The concession will see a backbone of mobile and digital connectivity established across London.

Uninterrupted 4G mobile coverage has already been introduced on the eastern half of the Jubilee line and will be expanded in phases to ticket halls, platforms and tunnels on the Tube network over the next three years, with all stations and tunnels due to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

This will allow customers to check the latest travel information, keep on top of their emails and the latest news, catch up on social media, watch videos or make calls throughout their journeys.

London's Tube tunnels will also be used to provide full fibre connectivity across the city, which can then be connected to buildings and street assets like street lighting and bus stops.

This will help to further increase mobile coverage through small mobile transmitters, as well as leveraging the power of 5G to deliver city-wide improvements and future growth.

The new high-capacity fibre network will bring fibre directly into London's neighbourhoods, creating new opportunities to serve homes and businesses with gigabit-capable speeds and supporting digital inclusion.

BAI, who was awarded the concession after a competitive tender process, is a leading global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure.

The agreement will build on BAI's significant experience of deploying communications networks in highly dense urban environments across the world, including New York, Toronto and Hong Kong.

The neutral host network being delivered as part of this concession will be the most advanced network of its kind in the world and available for use by all mobile operators. The infrastructure will also be 5G ready, allowing for a seamless upgrade for mobile operators in the future.

Five million passengers a day

The London Underground network is one of the world's largest underground networks and prior to the pandemic was used by more than five million passengers a day.

Once fully delivered, more than 2,000 kilometres of cabling are expected to be installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will be fitted outside of operational hours.

In addition to benefiting customers, providing 4G on the network will generate additional revenue for TfL across the 20-year length of the concession, as well as helping operational teams by providing better connectivity while underground.

To help reduce future disruption, TfL has already begun installing the necessary cabling within a number of stations and tunnels to help reduce the need for additional closures and ensure mobile connectivity can be introduced more easily.

This includes cabling already installed on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, as well as within the Northern Line Extension.

Work will now begin to prepare some of London's busiest stations for mobile connectivity, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, ahead of them being some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022.
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« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2021, 07:25:25 am »

In open sections phones dropped from platforms was one of the biggest reasons for passengers jumping down on to the track to retrieve them or asking staff to do the same.

Unintended consequence.
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2021, 07:27:15 pm »

Today TfL» (Transport for London - about) announced the next step, signing up networks: 3 and EE in this case.
All ticket halls, platforms and tunnels across the Tube network to have mobile coverage, with coverage on platforms and in tunnels on the Elizabeth line on track to go live next year

Another major step in improving the capital's mobile connectivity was achieved today as Three and EE join the BAI Communications (BAI) network to provide 4G and 5G-ready mobile connectivity across the London Underground.

The deal between the two networks and BAI, which was awarded a 20-year concession with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver mobile connectivity on the Underground, will give customers on the networks access to uninterrupted coverage whilst on the Tube and within the stations...

All mobile operators will be able to access the London Underground WiFi, as well as BAI's neutral host mobile network, which can also be made available to the Emergency Services Network (ESN). The infrastructure will also be 5G-ready, allowing seamless upgrades in the future.

I guess that mention of access to WiFi is not anything new, just the Virgin Media set-up that MNO's can already make available to their users if they want to.
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2022, 02:27:27 pm »

From E&T:
First phase of 4G rollout on London Underground complete

BAI Communications (BAI) has launched permanent, uninterrupted coverage on the eastern section of the Jubilee Line, completing the first milestone of the rollout of its 4G service across the London Underground.

In June 2021, Transport for London (TfL» (Transport for London - about)) awarded the mobile infrastructure firm with a 20-year concession deal to build the network itself and then make it available via wholesale for mobile network operators (MNO) to harness.

The deal followed a successful trial on the Jubilee Line (eastern half of the line), which saw TfL install a neutral host distributed antenna system (DAS (Driver Advisory System)) that was supported by hundreds of kilometres of fibre-optic cable laid in tunnels for data capacity.

All four MNOs (Vodafone, Three, EE and O2) took part in the trial, but so far only EE and Three UK (United Kingdom) have agreed to harness the final network.
Progress on the project continues with work ongoing along the new Elizabeth Line and at Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, which are all on track to become connected by the end of 2022.

TfL and its collaborators aim to cover the entire London Underground network (platforms and tube trains) by late 2024.
Insiders have said that both O2 and Vodafone are still active in the original pilot service and are continuing their discussions with BAI on access agreements.
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2022, 05:50:05 pm »

I was surprised by this on Monday. I took the Jubilee Line from North Greenwich to Baker Street and was astonished to get WhatsApp notifications.

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