Mixed signals - London Underground to go mobile, but who'll pay?
The London Underground is so noisy it's been known to cause ears to bleed and scab over. Obviously that noise isn't the din of commuters talking to one another - the world would no doubt end if such a thing actually occurred - but human chatter will soon be adding to the squeal of brakes and rattle of arthritic carriages. Yes, the opportunity to recite shopping lists and roll your eyes at cockney wankers in suits is just around the corner.
Mobile Today is reporting that a contract to create a mobile network for the tube is just a fortnight away from being signed. The investment deal will be between Transport for London (TfL) and Three, O2, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere (Orange and T-Mobile).
The only snag is that this deal, reported to cost £150 million, is only for the development and installation of a 2G and 3G voice and data network across the Underground - it doesn't cover the management or maintenance of it. The lack of specifics about who stumps up for the ongoing costs threatens to delay the agreement; TfL is reported as been reluctant to fund it because its budget is already a sow's ear.
Will tube commuters have to foot fare increases to pay for the privilege of continuing to ignoring one another?