London Mayor promises 4G on the Tube by 2019

Sadiq Khan is pledging to resolve many of the capital's connectivity issues.

Katie Collins
Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
2 min read
London Underground Tube
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Any London commuter will tell you there's a lot to dislike about using the city's Tube service every day, but lack of signal down in those tunnels is surely one of the biggest frustrations.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised on Thursday that 4G will start to be available on the Underground by 2019. He also pledged to improve connectivity across the capital by creating a "Not Spot Team" that will troubleshoot areas where the internet is hard to access.

For Londoners and visitors alike, the promise of better internet across the city, both under and above the ground, will be welcome news. Wi-Fi has been available in many stations and on platforms since 2012, but there's no connection for travellers as they journey between stations.

"If we are to remain competitive in the global economy, we need to ensure every Londoner is able to access a fast and reliable digital connection," said Khan said in a statement.

When the new Elizabeth Line launches at the end of 2018, it will have mobile signal from the get-go, but trying to extend this to the Victorian-era tunnels is a major infrastructure challenge, and delays are likely (something Tube passengers are already used to).

"We should be making the most of existing infrastructure, including the London Underground network, to boost speeds and deliver coverage to areas that have been left behind," David Leam, infrastructure director at business membership organisation London First, said in a statement. "But we also need London's planners to get behind this work, otherwise our digital ambitions risk being strangled by red tape."

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