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Los Angeles' subway is getting cellphone service and WiFi

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
January 20, 2015
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A few cities in the US have wireless service in their subway systems, but not Los Angeles. Take a trip to Wilshire Boulevard, for example, and you'll stay incommunicado until you're back above ground. You won't be out of touch for too much longer, though. The city and InSite Wireless have started deploying both cellular service and WiFi at subway stations, beginning with the Red Line. The launch will be modest early on, with four stations getting WiFi by May and cellular service coming in August. LA's plans are much more ambitious in the next couple of years, however. A second wave should get both the Purple Line and more of the Red Line up and running by June 2016, while the Gold Line railway's tunnels should be connected by March 2017.

As is often the case with these kinds of upgrades, transportation officials see wireless as both a convenience and a necessity. It's not just for checking Facebook while you're on your way home from work; you won't miss important messages that could make you change course, and you might just save a life if you can call 911 without having to leave the station. Some Angelenos will no doubt abuse their newfound freedom (like making you listen to their way-too-loud phone conversations), but it could be worth the sacrifice if the service keeps you in contact with the outside world at a crucial moment.

[Image credit: Frederick Dennstedt, Flickr]

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