CTA implements first stage of 4G wireless coverage on subway lines

Marissa Page, Assistant City Editor

Chicago Transit Authority completed the first stage of its project to provide 4G wireless service for subway riders, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday.

The project, slated to be finished by the end of 2015, will provide continuous coverage in 22 miles of the system along the Blue and Red lines. Design and installation of the system will also create approximately 50 jobs, CTA said.

As a part of the first stage, a 1.2-mile stretch of the Blue Line originating at O’Hare International Airport now offers wireless coverage to commuters.

“4G wireless will not only improve customer experience by offering faster and more robust wireless services that supports today’s tablets and smartphones, but it also increases system safety measures by providing more reliable communication between CTA personnel and emergency responders,” said CTA president Dorval R. Carter in a news release.

The 4G coverage applies to T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers. The four carriers collectively agreed in January to fund the design and construction of the $32.5 million project.

“We’ve finished phase one of the project and by the end of 2015, the new network will be ready to provide an incredible 4G wireless experience to T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers that ride the Chicago subway,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile’s chief technology officer, in the release.

The 4G service implementation is the latest in a series of efforts to modernize the CTA, which is the second-largest transit system in the country. In the past few years, the CTA has also expanded its security camera network as well as train and bus trackers.

Once the installation is finished, Chicago will be the largest city in the country with full 4G wireless coverage throughout its subway system.

“This is part of the city’s ongoing efforts to invest in 21st century technology for Chicago’s world-class transit system, and expand economic opportunity for more Chicagoans throughout the city,” Emanuel said in the release.

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