The Canadian telecommunications company Rogers Communications Inc. is about to grant the TTC subway system proper cell phone services.
The services include a full upgrade to a 5G network that extends to the entire subway system, allowing critical access to 911.
TTC spokesperson Stuart Green said of the update that “not every system city in the world has this,” noting that only some cities do and Toronto is currently “somewhere in between.”
“So hopefully, by the end of this process, within the next few years, Rogers will have built out the network offering all you know, cell phone carrier service,” Green said.
“What they have told us is that they need something like nine months to upgrade the existing infrastructure to 5g and then they will continue with the buildout for the rest of the network,” he said.
This update comes after Rogers purchased rival media company Shaw, a deal that closed after two years of going through regulatory hoops, and after the announcement that BAI Communications would also be acquired by Rogers.
In a news release from Rogers, Chief Technology and Information Officer Ron McKenzie said safety “is top of mind for Torontonians.”
“The agreement to acquire BAI Canada is a significant first step in modernizing and expanding the existing network to deliver enhanced 5G wireless service to millions of transit riders throughout the entire subway system in Canada’s largest city,” McKenzie said in the news release.
Rogers said that when completed, the 5G network is expected to have “seamless wireless coverage with mobile voice and data services in all 75 stations and almost 80 kilometres of Toronto’s subway system.”
Green said hopefully more cities in Canada would follow in Toronto’s footsteps.
“What we’re hoping now is that this model that’s in use in other cities — in Vancouver, Montreal, for example — where the Canadian telecom companies work together is what will happen in Toronto. I can’t speak to why they hadn’t signed on as of yet,” he said.
“What we’ll do is we’ll work with Rogers, and we’re still fine-tuning that contract right now, to develop a work schedule that includes making sure that their work is in parallel with our work,” Green said. “So, as we’re doing infrastructure work, they can come in and do some cabling work.”
The work has not commenced as of yet as the TTC and Rogers are “still fine-tuning the contract right now,” but is expected to include updates to the TTC’s antiquated cellular systems and infrastructure to support the expanded cellular service, he said.
While no specific start date has been given for the update, Green said it’s expected to take place “over the next few years.”