Two downtown Toronto Transit Commission subway stations now provide free Wi-Fi access but full cellular service, which includes texting and voice call capabilities, will have to wait until an agreement with Canadian carriers is reached.
On Monday, the TTC announced that it is now able to provide Internet access via Wi-Fi on the subway platforms at its Bloor-Yonge and St. George stations. The Wi-Fi project at the two stations is still at its testing phase but will be permanent by next month.
The TTC hopes to eventually roll out Wi-Fi and cell service to 61 subway stations by 2017.
BAI Canada has paid the TTC $25 million for the 20-year-contract to build a Wi-Fi network for the city’s subway network.
People at these two stations are now able to access the Web, send emails and do other Internet-related tasks on their mobile device, however full cell service is not available yet according to Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC.
In an interview with online mobile news publication Mobilesyrup.com, he said the TTC is eager to work with local carriers and has sent letters to the “big service providers” to invite them to join the TTC project.
“Cell providers have not demonstrated an eagerness to participate at this stage, so there will be no cell service or texting,” Ross said.
Brian Jacks, CEO of BAI Canada said it may take a while for the carriers to “make a decision to come on board.”
Earlier in September, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) announced a $50 million, seven year-project involving Bell Canada, Rogers Communications, Telus and Quebec-based Videotron that will see the deployment of wireless communication service in Montreal’s subway network. The project will make Montreal one of the few cities in the world to have a 4G LTE mobile underground network, according to STM.