Metro announces wireless voice and data service activation in first Red Line tunnel segment; Wi-Fi service coming to 30 stations by end of 2017
Metro and the nation's leading wireless carriers - AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless - today announced the availability of wireless voice and data service in the first tunnel segment on the Red Line. Metro riders traveling between Glenmont and Silver Spring can now enjoy uninterrupted wireless access when traveling between these stations.
The wireless carriers previously installed wireless service in all of the Metro underground stations. Working together, the latest tunnel segment is the second portion of the system to have wireless service, following the segment between Potomac Avenue and Stadium Armory on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, which was activated in December 2016. As a result of the new wireless coverage announced today, a Metro customer can now travel from Glenmont to Silver Spring with an uninterrupted wireless signal.
Metro is installing special cable along 100 miles of tunnel walls to support wireless service as the transit agency also installs the infrastructure needed for a new radio system for trains and emergency responders.
"Customers have told us that they want the ability to stay connected while on Metro, and we are pleased to have worked with the wireless carriers to deliver this service," said Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "I look forward to announcing the activation of additional tunnel segments in the months ahead."
The process of installing the wireless cable in Metro's tunnels requires weekend track outages to allow crews and contractors to drill special brackets along the walls. Under a new approach that maximizes efficiency, cellular cable is being installed concurrently with Metro's new radio system. Once the cellular cable is mounted and secured, the cable infrastructure is turned over to the wireless carriers to install the electronics needed to connect and optimize their networks. Wireless service on Metro is funded, operated and maintained jointly by the carriers.
Also today, Metro announced a list of 30 underground stations that will have free customer Wi-Fi service by the end of the year. Currently, six stations already have Wi-Fi - Metro Center, Gallery Place, L'Enfant Plaza, Judiciary Square, Union Station and Archives. The additional 24 stations are:
Metro will announce Wi-Fi availability as each station is activated. All remaining underground stations will have Wi-Fi by mid-2018.
Metro's Wi-Fi service is in addition to existing cellular service (already available at all Metro stations) enabling customers to make calls, send text messages, and access the web.