£1bn London Tube full-fibre hook-up deal

Aaron Morby 3 years ago
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Transport for London has selected its technology partner to hook-up the London Underground network with full-fibre internet coverage.

The 20-year concession to BAI Communications will enable mobile coverage on the whole Tube network and paves the way for a £1bn investment programme.

Once fully delivered, more than 2,000km of cabling will be installed within tunnels and stations, all of which will be fitted outside of operational hours.

BAI is a leading global provider of 4G and 5G connected infrastructure, and has deployed communications networks in New York, Toronto and Hong Kong.

The neutral host network being delivered as part of this concession will be the most advanced network of its kind in the world and available for use by all mobile operators.

To help reduce future disruption, TfL has already begun installing the necessary cabling within a number of stations and tunnels to help reduce the need for additional closures.

This includes cabling already installed on the Jubilee and Victoria lines, as well as within the Northern Line Extension.

Work will now begin to prepare some of London’s busiest stations for mobile connectivity, including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Bank, Euston and Camden Town, ahead of them being some of the first to be connected by the end of 2022.

Uninterrupted 4G mobile coverage will be expanded in phases to ticket halls, platforms and tunnels on the Tube network over the next three years, with all stations and tunnels due to have mobile coverage by the end of 2024.

London’s Tube tunnels will also be used to provide full-fibre connectivity across the city, connecting to buildings and street assets like street lighting and bus stops.

This will help to further increase mobile coverage through small mobile transmitters, as well as leveraging the power of 5G to deliver city-wide improvements and future growth.

Billy D’Arcy, CEO of BAI Communications UK, said: “Our long-term partnership with TfL will completely transform the passenger experience, as well as helping to boost London’s economy and providing social benefits for years to come.

“By building the most advanced network of its kind in the world here, we are helping London leapfrog other major cities in terms of connectivity and ensure that the capital remains the most attractive place for investment.

“Across the length of this concession, we fully anticipate investing in excess of £1bn across the Connected London programme.

“We will also establish a new city-wide high-capacity fibre network throughout London and leverage the power of 5G and the Internet of Things to unlock new opportunities for technological innovation.”

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