5G is coming to San Francisco's BART train system

The plan includes Wi-Fi on all trains, small cells along the rail line and 5G antennas in every underground station.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert

BART riders will have 5G throughout the system within three years.


The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system is getting hooked up with  5G  connectivity, the agency announced Tuesday. BART is working with wireless company Mobilitie to bring 5G mobile connections to the train system's tunnels, stations and rail cars by 2023.  

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BART connects much of the San Francisco Bay Area.


Currently, mobile network reception is patchy throughout the BART system. The project announced today includes installing underground wireless Distributed Antenna System (DAS) equipment across 11 miles of tunnels and in 11 underground stations in downtown San Francisco. 

Newport Beach, California-based Mobilitie will also install small cells along the rail lines, which will in turn improve internet coverage in 25 cities in the Bay Area; Wi-Fi 6 in all 48 stations and on all trains; and a "massive fiber plant" along the rail's right of way throughout the Bay Area.

"Working with Mobilitie for this digital transformation will improve broadband connectivity across our system and for our riders," said Bob Powers, BART general manager. "Ultimately, people will have better access to real-time information and a more convenient and easier to use transit."

5G, the next-generation cellular technology, boasts anywhere from 10 to 100 times the speed of 4G and rapid-fire responsiveness. The technology is touted as having the potential to improve everything from simple video conferencing to telemedicine and advanced augmented and virtual reality.

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