Rail

Deal to bring wireless network to Chicago subway reached

Posted on February 5, 2015

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a $32.5 million deal, brokered by the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, with America’s four major wireless providers — T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — to finance a network modernization project for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) to upgrade the wireless network in the city’s subway system.

T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have collectively agreed to fund the entire upgrade related to the design and construction of a next-generation Distributed Antenna System (DAS) capable of supporting the latest 4G wireless networks and mobile devices.

“By adding 4G wireless service all throughout the CTA, we are bringing 21st century technology to every rider on every line of our 21st century transit system,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This is another way that we are investing in a modern CTA to encourage ridership, make Chicago more economically competitive, and open up more economic opportunities to more residents throughout the city.”

The network upgrade, which began in January, will help improve first responder communications throughout the tunnel system, while also giving the millions of Chicago subway riders the opportunity to have a faster mobile experience throughout their commutes. The design and installation of the system will create approximately 50 jobs.

Upon completion of the network upgrade, which is expected by the end of 2015, Chicago will be the largest city in North America to have a subway system with full 4G wireless coverage across its entire system of subway stations and tunnels. Specifically, there will be continuous 4G coverage crossing 22 miles from O’Hare airport through the underground tunnels and platforms of the Red and Blue Lines, the CTA’s two busiest rail lines.

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