Metro extends wireless reach into more tunnels

Can you hear me now? Yes, is the answer in another stretch of Metro’s tunnels.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless have expanded their wireless coverage in Metro to the first tunnel segment on the Red Line. Metro riders traveling between Glenmont and Silver Spring now have uninterrupted wireless access when traveling between these stations.

Wireless service is already available in all of the Metro underground stations but the new tunnel stretch is only the second tunnel segment with wireless. The tunnel between Potomac Avenue and Stadium Armory on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, was activated in December 2016.

“Customers have told us that they want the ability to stay connected while on Metro, and we are pleased to have worked with the wireless carriers to deliver this service,” says Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “I look forward to announcing the activation of additional tunnel segments in the months ahead.”

The process of installing the wireless cable in Metro’s tunnels requires weekend track outages to allow crews and contractors to drill special brackets along the walls. Under a new approach that maximizes efficiency, cellular cable is being installed concurrently with Metro’s new radio system. Once the cellular cable is mounted and secured, the cable infrastructure is turned over to the wireless carriers to install the electronics needed to connect and optimize their networks. Wireless service on Metro is funded, operated and maintained jointly by the carriers.

Wi-Fi service

Also, Metro has announced a list of 30 underground stations that will have free customer Wi-Fi service by the end of the year. Four are in Virginia: Crystal City, Rosslyn, Clarendon and Court House.

Currently, six stations already have Wi-Fi – Metro Center, Gallery Place, L’Enfant Plaza, Judiciary Square, and Archives. The additional 24 stations are:

  • Smithsonian
  • Farragut West
  • Crystal City
  • Dupont Circle
  • Rosslyn
  • Clarendon
  • Court House
  • Navy Yard-Ballpark
  • Waterfront
  • Anacostia
  • McPherson Sq
  • Foggy Bottom-GWU
  • Farragut North
  • Cleveland Park
  • Van Ness-UDC
  • Tenleytown – AU
  • Friendship Heights
  • Bethesda
  • Medical Center
  • Mt. Vernon Sq
  • Shaw-Howard U
  • U Street
  • Columbia Heights
  • Federal Center SW

Metro will announce Wi-Fi availability as each station is activated. All remaining underground stations will have Wi-Fi by mid-2018.

Metro’s Wi-Fi service is in addition to existing cellular service, already available at all Metro stations.

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Ed Tobias
Ed Tobias brings more than four decades of reporting and news management experience to his work at FairfaxNews. Tobias managed news coverage for Associated Press Radio for over twenty years.  This included coverage of the 9/11 attacks, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, the death of Princess Diana, the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters and national election primaries, conventions and campaigns.  He was part of the team that built AP’s on-line video operation. Prior to joining AP, Tobias was News Director at all-news WTOP in Washington, D.C. He has won two Ohio State Awards for his reporting and producing and he led coverage that won an Edward R. Murrow Award.