Toronto, cell phones will work even in the subway tunnels
TORONTO – Finally, all Toronto subway passengers will have mobile phone service even in the tunnels, regardless of the operator they choose. The turning point, which can be defined as historic since it had been awaited for ten years, will start from 3 October, as announced today by the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, speaking at a press conference at the Toronto City Hall together with Toronto’s Mayor Olivia Chow.
“Enough is enough. This is the message I send to the telecommunications companies on behalf of millions of TTC users who have been very, very patient,” the minister said. “We are forcing telcos to ensure that all metro users, regardless of their service providers, have access to mobile services by October 3.”
The lack of phone service for most Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) passengers has been a growing concern since 2012, when Australia’s Bai Communications won a $25 million contract to build and operate the wireless network. public fi and TTC cell phone. Freedom Mobile was the only company to sign up to provide coverage to its customers. For more than a decade, then, customers without Freedom have been unable to use the Bai network except for emergency calls to 911—a real problem, given the recent spate of incidents of violence on the TTC.
In August, Rogers Communications launched 5G wireless service to its customers in key parts of the metro network, but a feud with other major carriers continues over the terms of access for all transit riders. And, according to Champagne, “it is simply unacceptable” that the more than 2 million people who use the subway daily “still do not have access to wireless services.” According to the minister, in fact, for many TTC users, getting on the subway is like “going into perpetual airplane mode. But I’m here today to tell you that those days are over. Time is up, and that’s why we will take action decided to change the situation for millions of TTC users,” he said.
Following an expedited public consultation process, Champagne announced that the licenses to operate of all major carriers will be reviewed to ensure that all TTC passengers can have coverage in the subway system. And companies could face sanctions, including suspension or revocation of their spectrum license, if they fail to do so. In practical terms, this means that “all major carriers will be required to offer voice, text and data services, including, of course, 911 service, by October 3 on the current Toronto Metro wireless network,” Champagne said, adding that “this will be followed by full service in all tunnels and stations across the network as soon as practicable. If mobile operators fail to meet these conditions, I will not hesitate to take further action where appropriate,” Champagne said. “Not only do I expect them to follow what we ask, but I think it would be in their best interest to do so as millions of Torontonians want to use their services.”
Mayor Olivia Chow welcomed the announcement, saying that “today is a happy day. All travelers will breathe a sigh of relief.” The first citizen added that the availability of mobile phone service on the subway means that moms and dads will be able to connect with their children when they are traveling. “Those who want to do homework or work on the subway will be able to do so,” Chow said. “And if people are in trouble, they will be able to connect with someone. This sense of security is so important,” said the Mayor (pictured above, from her Twitter page, during the announcement with Minister François- Philippe Champagne).