February 25, 2015

3G and 4G could be coming to the London Underground

The government is looking at ways to extend Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G to the entire London Underground.

Above ground you can get mobile signal in most parts of the UK, but below ground, notably on the London Underground, it’s a different matter altogether.

Millions of people use London’s tube network every day yet for the duration of their trip they have no 3G or 4G and while free Wi-Fi is accessible in many stations it doesn’t extend to the tubes themselves.

That’s a problem and one which surely needn’t exist, especially as even the Channel Tunnel now has 4G, but it’s a problem which may not exist for much longer, because as part of its long-term economic plan the government has announced that it is in discussions with Transport for London to see how funding can be found to extend Wi-Fi/3G/4G coverage to the whole underground network.

That’s obviously not very specific and provides no guarantees that a solution will be found, but the good news is that it’s listed under the government’s plans for this year, so we may know more soon.

It’s a small part of a big plan to modernise and extend London’s public transport but if it happens it could be a big deal, allowing people to work, communicate and entertain themselves even while taking the tube, which for the most part is currently wasted time from a productivity perspective.

In fact Transport for London has already confirmed plans to extend Wi-Fi to all below ground sections of the tube by the end of the next parliament, so that’s a big step in the right direction, but to truly keep the lines of communication open 3G and 4G would be better.

Tags:,