As anyone who has ever travelled on the Tube in London will tell you, the lack of mobile phone coverage is really irritating, meaning that you have to end any conversations before you get to the ticket hall at most stations, and won’t resume coverage until pretty much street level.
Now it is completely understandable that there’s no signal on these trains; you’re underground, after all! But, mobile phones have been in mainstream use for most of this decade, and have been around for 30 years, surely this problem should be solved by now? Make-shift solutions have been banded about for years now it would seem, suggestions of all-encompassing, all-powerful signal boosters installed in the tunnels, or so-called ‘signal deflectors’ that are supposed to somehow bounce the coverage off each other, down the tunnels. I don’t understand how this would work, and I’m not going to pretend to. But the fact that people are making suggestions means that a solution could well be in the pipe-line.
Which brings me to the TFL wi-fi trial, in conjuction with BT Openzone, that was introduced yesterday, Monday 1st November 2010, at Charing Cross tube station (Londonist report found here) which they report that, although only covering the ticket hall and platform levels, is apparently really good, with instant connection, and a fast one at that. I for one am very excited by the prospect, and if it means that, at some point in the future, Londoners can actually ride the tube with the ability to make a phone call, access their emails or even go on Facebook, then I’m definitely in. Changes are everywhere in the capital at the moment, the new Tube trains I spoke about in a previous post for example, and they are just going to increase between now and the Olympics, 18 very short months away. London is a very exciting place to live right now.