When you ride L.A.'s light-rail trains, do you find that your smartphone is left in the dark?
The folks that run our trains and buses, LA Metro, say wi-fi is coming to certain train stations in May. Cell service will follow along select underground lines in summer, they say. In fact, Metro says, construction on wireless services got underway this week.
Yay, says you, unless you have a crappy carrier that charges you way too much extra cash to watch Game of Thrones on your data plan as you head to work on L.A.'s trains everyday.
There's no guarantee, it seems, that wireless carriers, crappy or otherwise, will get with this program, though.
Metro noted in February that the phone companies don't all have to jump on-board. But it notes that they ...
have a pretty good incentive to put their signal underground — if they don’t do it, one of their competitors may. And in the cell phone business, having the largest service area is a pretty big draw for prospective customers.
Wi-fi will be installed Red/Purple Line stations from Union Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center starting in May, Metro said in a recent memo.
Phase two of the program will see wi-fi installed in Red/Purple Line stations from Westlake to Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/Vermont to Vermont/Sunset in December. Cell service would follow in June of 2016, according to Metro.
The third phase will include the Red Line from Hollywood/Western to North Hollywood and the Gold Line from Mariachi Plaza to Soto. Wi-fi is scheduled to hit those stations in November, 2016. Cell service is expected to come online in March, 2017, Metro says.
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Interestingly, Metro originally said that cell service would come first. Somewhere along the line wi-fi installation took precedence.
The installation comes courtesy of a 20-year contract between Metro and InSite Wireless.
Don't all start staring at your phones at once.