Monday, September 26, 2011

Metro falls behind on offering cell phone signal

One of the most annoying things about leaving out of the Navy/Archives/Penn Quarter Metro stop is that the cell phone coverage is terrible.  For AT&T customers, it is non-existent.   Though service is available and strong at Gallery Place and Metro Center, Navy-Archives falls short.

The Washington Examiner reports that promised upgrades to cell service in stations is falling behind schedule.

Metro is required, as part of a deal with Congress, to upgrade the system for better cellular service.  In exchange, they get $1.5 billion in federal funding.

Metro, however, blames the wireless companies, saying it's up to them to make the upgrades.  Those companies are paying WMATA more than $50 million over 25 years to make the upgrades, but WMATA still insists it is up to them.

The legislation in the deal with Congress, however, set deadlines.  By October 2009, Metro was to have service in the 20 busiest underground stations. By October 2012, it is supposed to have the entire system wired and active.  Metro, however, had promised that the remaining stations would have service by this fall.

"We are not in a position to know when it will be done," Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told The Washington Examiner.

Metro does, however, say that this work has priority over all other projects, except those that are safety-related, of course.  The problem is that they have to have specially trained metro employees accompany the wireless companies in the tunnels, and there are a limited number of these employees.

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