Your Cell Service on the MBTA Is Set to Improve

All the major service providers have agreed to expand their networks underground.

Behold, the future is upon us, Boston. It is a future of plenty, a future in which MBTA tunnels discriminate not between cell phone carriers, but provide blessed 4G cell service and Comcast WiFi to all who ask for it.

That’s right, according to BetaBoston, InSite Wireless, the communications infrastructure company that installs and operates cell service on the MBTA, announced that all four major service providers—Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile as well as Comcast for WiFi—have agreed to expand service to the entire system. Now, most all mobile users can access the internet and do the important work of tweeting about their train delays no matter where they are in the MBTA system.

Up to this point, cell and internet service has been dependent on your provider and your train’s location. AT&T has had 2G, 3G, and 4G operational across the system. Verizon expanded their 3G beyond the center of Boston last year. The project to expand service has been going on for years, and has faced logistical hurdles. BetaBoston reports:

The project, which has been going on for more than a decade, has faced some challenges, most notably the availability to work only during the hours the the T was shut down at night, as well as the ongoing changes in technology since the project began.

With difficulty, we will set aside any snark about the number of hours the T is actually closed and therefore available for work, and focus instead on the fact that, yes, cell phone technology does seem difficult to keep up with.

We also kid a bit about the momentousness of this occasion. (Bring a book with you, people. Treasure the few final moments of human history in which you aren’t expected to respond to email!) But really, the expansion of service is a nice plus for a connected generation that expects the ability to SnapChat no matter where it goes, a generation that Boston needs to attract to the city. Plus, it gives our subway a leg up over New York’s, where cell service is frequently unavailable in the tunnels. (That’s Boston’s subway system 1, New York’s…actually, maybe its best not to keep score on this one.)

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