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123home123's profile

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Monday, March 16th, 2015 7:16 PM

No AT&T mobile Internet access at some Washington DC MetroRail - Metro stations

Although there is a plan to set up cell service and mobile data access throughout the underground sections of the Washington DC MetroRail system, the company that was set up to do the engineering/installation work went bankrupt. Now it seems as though WMATA/Metro and the mobile carriers (incl. AT&T) don't appear to view this as a priority.

 

Many or most of the underground Metro stations have some wireless access, I believe. (I don't make that many calls while in Metro stations, so I can't confirm this.) In the past, I was able to check email and mobile Internet on my AT&T smartphone in the Metro stations. But recently, I've learned that there is no longer AT&T mobile Internet access in the Foggy Bottom, Rosslyn or Pentagon Metro stations, all of which are underground.

 

I understand that there may be technical difficulties with setting up mobile voice/Internet access in the tunnels. But what happened to these stations? Mobile Internet access is no longer available on AT&T. Why? These are very busy Metro stations, among the busiest in the entire Washington DC-area Metro subway system. Getting this service back up and running would benefit Metro riders and AT&T customers. It would entice more people to take Metro and it would also draw more customers to AT&T's service in the Arlington/DC area.

 

There is also the safety issue. Just recently, there was a serious incident on the Yellow Line where a train was stopped in a tunnel that was filled with smoke. An older woman died from the smoke. Firefighters had difficulty with radio communications in the tunnels. Although they use a separate wireless system, if passengers had been better able to communicate via voice, email, text or Twitter, Metro and the DCFD might have been able to resolve the situation sooner than it did.

 

For all of these reasons, I'd really like to see AT&T return mobile Internet service to those Metro stations. I'm sure many other people feel the same way.

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