London Underground Mobile Network Infrastructure

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Earlier we made a tutorial on Infrastructure required for bringing connectivity to underground rail network. So it was good to see Nick Hudson, Director of Global Partners & Programmes at BAI Communications share some pictures of Mobile Network Infrastructure on London Underground network on his LinkedIn post.

Back in June 2021, BAI Communications (BAI) was awarded a 20-year concession by Transport for London (TfL) to deliver high-speed mobile connectivity across the capital in the most advanced and largest infrastructure project of its type in the world. The press release said:

BAI’s partnership with TfL will establish a long-awaited backbone of connectivity with a city-wide integrated communications network delivering multi-carrier cellular, Wi-Fi, and fibre connectivity services. The 4G-enabled and 5G-ready communications network that BAI will build and operate as a neutral host for fixed and mobile operators will fast-track London’s evolution as a smart city. BAI will also help to create a safer, smarter London by building and operating critical communications infrastructure that will support police, fire, and ambulance services.

The first phase of the project will see the rollout of modern multi-carrier infrastructure. This will allow fixed and mobile operators to immediately provide continuous 4G coverage to their customers across the London Underground stations and tunnels. The new wireless infrastructure will also be 5G ready. Work on the project will begin immediately, with all stations and tunnels due to have mobile coverage in four years.

Additionally, a new high-capacity fibre network running throughout the London Underground will enable fibre service providers to provide full fibre connectivity to premises across the city. The network will connect to buildings and street assets housing small cells to leverage the power of 5G and the IoT, and deliver improvements in areas like traffic congestion, public safety, and city planning.

Through this concession, BAI will help the transport authority support London’s post-covid recovery as travel resumes, delivering seamless 5G ready connectivity that will enable people to move around the city more efficiently, safely, and securely. More specifically, this project will enable TfL to reduce overcrowding and manage station flow, while improving safety with real-time information and reliable ‘from anywhere’ communications.

BAI was awarded the concession after a competitive tender process. The company has proven experience deploying mission critical communications networks in highly dense urban environments, including the underground rail networks in New York, Toronto, and Hong Kong. This project supports BAI’s strategic intent to sustainably accelerate growth globally. This is achieved through our work deploying outdoor neutral host infrastructure and developing 5G-driven offerings that introduce and scale connectivity solutions for emerging services and fresh revenue opportunities. Ultimately, our work supports our customers by delivering better connectivity and enhanced customer experiences. BAI’s ambitious plans include expanding its wireless infrastructure business across the public transport sector and growing its private network services portfolio.

Last month, BAI announced that they have completed the first milestone of its rollout of high-speed mobile coverage across the London Underground as it launches a permanent 4G service on the eastern section of the Jubilee Line. The press release said:

Customers of Three and EE are the first to be confirmed to have permanent access to 4G and 5G-ready communications between Westminster and Canning Town. The connectivity has been available as part of a pilot service since March 2020. This follows agreements made last year by both mobile operators to join BAI’s network, making them the first to cement their commitment to providing coverage to London Underground passengers.

Whilst on this section of the Jubilee Line, customers will continue to be able to check the latest travel information, keep on top of their emails, catch up on social media, live stream videos wherever they are on the Underground.

Cities all over the world are improving connectivity for subways and metros. With London already a centre of mobile connectivity, it’s surprising that getting coverage in the Tube took so long.

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