LA Subway System To Finally Gain Cellphone, Wi-Fi Service
Los Angeles is catching up to subway systems in other areas such as Washington D.C., Boston, parts of New York, and the Bay Area that already offer underground cellphone service and, in some cases, Wi-Fi access. Part of the reason why L.A. fell behind is because of delays over security concerns related to interference with radio talk between first responders -- this set construction back by nearly two years after the contract was awarded.
More than just a convenience to passengers, this is also a safety issue. Once cellular service is added, passengers in the area will for the first time able to dial 9-1-1 while on a train or in an underground station.
The entire process is more complicated than it would appear on the surface. For one, city planners had to work with police and fire departments to figure out what frequencies to carry cellular service to avoid interfering with radio communications. And secondly, there's a brief window as to when cell phone antennas can be installed, which is when trains aren't running -- typically from around 1 AM to 4 AM.