Security and Safety

D.C. Metro working on deal with wireless carriers to end tunnel dead spots

Posted on July 29, 2015

L'Enfant Plaza station. Photo: WMATA/Larry Levine
L'Enfant Plaza station. Photo: WMATA/Larry Levine

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Metro may reach an agreement this year with the four major wireless carriers to complete a project to provide coverage inside rail tunnels, an undertaking that was supposed to be finished years ago, WAMU reported.

The lack of cell phone coverage was exposed most recently after the Jan. 12 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza when passengers aboard Yellow Line train No. 302 struggled to connect to 911 as smoke filled the railcars just a few hundred feet south of the station platform, the report said.

In remarks to the transit authority’s board of directors on Thursday, Metro interim general manager Jack Requa said he expects negotiations with the carriers — Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile — to proceed toward an agreement, according to the report.

Following the L’Enfant Plaza smoke incident, a test was conducted in February: more than 400 911 calls were made on the four major carriers. Ninety percent of calls made inside rail stations got through, but only 28 percent of the calls from tunnels did, WAMU reported.

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