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CTA solicits information for proposed subway cellular service on Red, Blue lines

Yesterday, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) issued a request for information (RFI) to solicit responses from wireless telecommunication companies to determine the feasibility of designing, financing, installing, operating and maintaining a modern cellular infrastructure covering 11.4 miles of the Red and Blue lines' tunnels and underground facilities.

The project's ultimate goal is to ensure riders using all major wireless carriers have continuous mobile phone service underground in all subway tunnels, CTA officials said in a press release.

"By taking steps to begin the process of modernizing our wireless capabilities, we are better serving our customers, including customers traveling between downtown and O'Hare International Airport, as well as providing more reliable service for CTA personnel and emergency responders," said President Forrest Claypool.

The four-week RFI is intended to provide information that will help CTA determine the project's estimated budget and timeline. The results will help agency officials prepare the official request for proposals. Ultimately, CTA will seek a neutral-host partner that can serve all wireless carriers, agency officials said.

Under the proposed project, CTA would own the new network, but respondents would be solely responsible for funding their proposed projects. Also, the selected vendor would be responsible for managing and negotiating third-party license agreements with major wireless service providers. Fees generated by third-party licenses would be split with the managing vendor and CTA.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/4/2013