USE OF MOBILE PHONES UNDERGROUND

  flaming 18:16 04 Jan 06
Locked

I see it is OK for mobile phones to be discussed! In that case, do any of the wise ones know anything about this subject, please? Will there be extra masts placed at tunnel mouths of the London's tube railway? I am interested as I live near a tunnel mouth and the powers-that-be have been busily thinning trees on wild strips of land around the tunnel mouth, and near the overground station nearby. And when is the communication project commencing?

  Forum Editor 18:43 04 Jan 06

there will not be transmitters at the tunnel mouths - the tree thinning is routine work.

A trial mobile phone service will take place at one London underground station during 2006. If the results of this are satisfactory the service will be extended to the whole of the underground system by 2008. At first, mobile phones will only work inside the stations themselves - in the walkways tunnels and on the platforms. Later, if public reaction is favourable, mobile phones will work on the trains as well.

The way it will be done is by using picocells - small, low-wattage, short range antennae about the size of a smoke alarm. These will be dotted around the stations, and will be connected via cable to special masts above ground - probably on the station roof. The picocells are very low-powered, only about 1 watt each, which is perfectly OK for the purpose.

Later on, if things work out, you'll also be able to access broadband internet connections on the trains - but that's not going to happen until after the phone system is up and running.

One big concern, and it's been voiced by several experts, is that a mobile phone service would potentially enable terrorists to use phones as a means of remotely detonating explosive devices on the trains.

  flaming 22:28 04 Jan 06

Forum Editor: Thanks for that info. I am mightily relieved as I pictured waking up one morning to see that a transmitter mast had been erected outside my window. The tree-cutting has been enough of a shock; the old order, LUT, ignored the bits of wild land they owned, except for near the tube tracks, but as they now are being totally managed I wondered whether Tubelines had a hidden agenda.

  Skills 05:09 06 Jan 06

Thats a very good point about the security issues FE and surely we can go without a mobile phone signal for the length of a tube journey.

Granted I havent lived in the London area for quite some time but the longest a tube trip would take was about 30mins unless you was using the northen line, or hammersmith & city line and alot of that was above ground anyway.

To be honest I think id quite welcome a break from the constant ringing of phones and would certinatly rather be without signal than have a security risk for the sake of being able to make a phone call.

  flaming 00:06 07 Jan 06

Big business usually wins. The phone network providers will earn well, PPP will no doubt get handsome fees from them for access and the Exchequer is always looking for new money. Also, people will want to use their phones for something if it becomes possible. Music, radio and, in the near future,PC access. People spoke about the terrorist risk after the July bombings, but others argued that underground mobile phone use would be a godsend in times of disaster, whatever the cause. In recent months all concerned have been quite quiet about the matter.

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