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CTA to expand wireless coverage throughout subway system


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel yesterday announced the completion of the first phase of a project to bring 4G wireless coverage to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) subway system.

Beginning this week, riders on CTA's Blue Line O'Hare Branch will gain full 4G wireless coverage in the Kimball Subway, which is a 1.2-mile section serving Logan Square and Belmont, agency officials said in a press release.

Activation of wireless coverage in the remaining portions of the Blue and Red line subways will occur in phases, with the entire subway network to be completed by year's end.

"The addition of 4G coverage will ensure that CTA passengers can benefit from dependable data service while riding the subway," Emanuel said. "Importantly, it will also improve communications for first-responders working inside the tunnel system."

The CTA brokered the $32.5 million 4G wireless project with the four major wireless providers in the United States: T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. In January 2015, the four providers collectively agreed to fund the design and construction of a distributed antenna system capable of supporting the latest wireless networks and mobile devices, CTA officials said.

The project will provide continuous wireless coverage in 22 miles of subway spanning from Chicago O'Hare International Airport and through the underground tunnels and platforms of the Red and Blue lines, which are the agency's two busiest rail lines.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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