Tube of the Future Could Have 3G and 4G...But Not Without A Tonne of Cash

By Gerald Lynch on at

We've already got Wi-Fi on the London Underground, but what about tapping into our 3G or 4G data connections when hurtling down the Tube tunnels? Well, it's tested, it works, and it's totally feasible. But not without a crap load of private investment, says TfL.

“We have some trials working successfully in those spaces, but it’s a question of working out how much money you now expend,” said TfL CIO Steve Townsend.

While public tax money can happily be funnelled into track upgrades and maintenance work, the same can't be said for low-priority connectivity advancements -- for that the money's got to come from the private sector, Townsend explains.

“How far away [deployments are] is difficult to tell because that’s all based around investment [...] It depends how keen the private sector is to help out a public sector organisation.”

While Wi-Fi is now available in 170 stations on the transport network, the lack of 3G or 4G connectivity sees London's underground trains playing catch-up compared to other major cities around the globe -- Hong Kong and Seoul's Tube equivalents already offer 3G and 4G, while New York, Paris and Sydney's systems will be getting the upgrade within the next two years. [TechWorld]