The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) completed the first phase of a project to bring 4G wireless coverage to its subway system. Upon completion of the network upgrade, which is expected by the end of 2015, the city 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.
Starting this week, CTA Blue Line O’Hare Branch riders have full 4G wireless coverage in the Kimball Subway, a 1.2-mile section serving the Logan Square and Belmont stations. Activation of 4G coverage in the remaining portions of the Blue and Red Line subways will occur in phases, with the entire subway network completed by year’s end.
The 4G wireless project is 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 the network modernization. In January 2015, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint collectively agreed to fund the design and construction of a next-generation Distributed Antenna System capable of supporting the latest 4G wireless networks and mobile devices.
The project will provide continuous 4G coverage in 22 miles of subway, from O’Hare airport and through the underground tunnels and platforms of the Red and Blue Lines, the CTA’s two busiest rail lines.
The network upgrade, which began earlier this year, will give millions of Chicago subway riders a faster mobile experience throughout their commutes. The design and installation of the system will create approximately 50 jobs.