Internet on the Métro

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) has been touting their new subterranean cellphone signal.

Officially launched on the Green Line now, there’s limited unofficial coverage on the Orange Line as well.

Here’s how my own milage varied on the Green Line (please excuse the choppy excuse for an infographic!):

green_line_signal_strength

 

And the Orange Line:

orange_line_signal_strength

 

Kudos to the STM for implementing this. It’s interesting to contrast this approach with the one Transport For London (TFL) have carried out back in my hometown of London. There they’ve opted for WiFi access points at each deep level station instead of extending cell signal. Whilst free of charge to the customers of some mobile phone providers, others have to pay for the privilege of WiFi on The Tube. I believe the phone’s MAC address is used to associate it with a phone number, and therefore decide if the phone should be allowed to access the WiFi for free or not based on the owner’s provider.

I’m sure the logistics of these two very different subway systems partially dictated the different approaches, but I think Montreal’s version provides better value and convenience to the user. And that’s not to mention avoiding some of the security risks associated with public WiFi.

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