Four Canadian carriers are coming together in a $50 million, seven-year project that will see the deployment of wireless communications service in Montreal’s subway network.

The plan to provide wireless service to Société de transport de Montréal (STM) customers, includes Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Telus and Quebec-based Videotron. The project will make Montreal “one of the few cities in the world to have a 4G LTE mobile underground network,” according to the STM.

“…we will finally be in a position to enable our approximately 900,000 daily customers to use their wireless devices while travelling through the metro systems,” said STM board Chair Michel Labrecque in a statement. “This initiative will also enable us to meet one of the objectives of the Strategic Plan 2020, specifically to enhance the user experience by making it friendlier and more pleasant while continuing to improve the delivery of real-time information to our customers.”

The subway serves some 900,000 commuters each day but the underground system does not have any wireless service. That is about to change, according to the STM.

“While travelling on the metro, Montreal public transit clients will be able to browse the Web, watch videos, download music, make and receive calls and more,” an STM statement said. “In fact, 3G, 4G and 4G LTE (long term evolution) technologies will be deployed throughout the metro network and coverage will be available in cars, tunnels and station.”

The plan intends to connect mobile device users in the Montreal metro to a mobile service network by transmitting and receiving radio frequency (RF) signals to and from antennas located throughout the subway stations and tunnels that cover some 70 kilometres.

The STM is not the only subway service in Canada planning to roll out underground wireless service.

Last year, the Toronto Transit Commission approved a $25 million deal with a provider to build an underground wireless network to cover the city’s 61-station subway system. The TTC said it is preparing to launch a pilot test in several stations.

 

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