October 22, 2012 7:51pm
Toronto commuters have been frustrated for years for the lack of cell service on subways. This service has been promised for a long time and it looks like the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) will be making an official announcement on Wednesday.
The RFP was originally between 3 organizations, Bell Mobility, Chicago-based Extenet Systems, and Broadcast Australia Pty Ltd. (BA). According to a proposal on the TTC’s website it looks like they are putting for the approval to partner up with BA:
“Authorize the award of a contract to Broadcast Australia Pty Ltd. (BA), for the Wireless Network in the Subway System project, for a fixed fee payable to the TTC in the amount of Twenty Five Million Dollars ($25,000,000.00) over a twenty (20) year term. In addition, BA will pay the TTC an additional $8,000.00 (plus applicable taxes) for design review cost, per TTC existing and planned sixty one (61) underground subway stations.”
In addition to this news there’ll be a new TTC position created called “Project Manager, Wireless Communications” who’s sole responsibility will be to oversee and manage the project. As for the completion dates, sometime in 2014, but riders will only be able to use their device (talk/text/data) on subway platform, not inside the trains. In the meantime BA, if approved, will conduct beta testing at a couple subway stations.
Finally, the TTC submission indicates that BA will have to establish relationships with wireless carriers and provide at least 60% of Toronto wireless subscribers with service. So there possibly might be some heavy fees for some riders to access the service, or heavily subsidized by contracted carriers: “The successful proponent shall be deemed to have sufficient wireless carriers contracted if it has contracted with a wireless carrier or wireless carriers that have at least 60% of the wireless subscribers within the City of Toronto.”