Cell service expanded in SkyTrain tunnels for more carriers

Nov 16 2021, 8:36 pm

Fast LTE cellular connectivity is now accessible in more SkyTrain tunnels for transit riders who are customers of Shaw Mobile and Freedom Mobile.

The new service for both Shaw Communications carriers went online within the Millennium Line’s Evergreen tunnel between Burquitlam and Moody Centre stations, and the Expo Line’s tunnels within New Westminster between New Westminster and Sapperton stations.

Shaw first introduced fast LTE service for its customers in 2018 within the Expo Line’s Dunsmuir Tunnel in downtown Vancouver. With the latest expansion, all Shaw and Freedom mobile customers have access to uninterrupted network access through all tunnels across the SkyTrain network.

The connectivity upgrades were performed at no cost to TransLink.

“Upgrading access to the LTE network on TransLink’s system ensures customers will have secure and reliable cell service to keep them connected to their loved ones while on transit,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn in a statement.

“Now our customers can easily stay connected with the people that matter most, while we connect them to the places that matter most.”

In 2017, Rogers Communications completed the installation of cell service infrastructure in the Evergreen tunnel, which effectively meant a milestone had been reached that provides all SkyTrain tunnels with connectivity. Rogers previously installed cell service infrastructure in all of the tunnels of the Expo Line and other areas of the Millennium Line, while Telus is responsible for installing the Canada Line.

Other carries pay Rogers and Telus to access their cell service infrastructure in the SkyTrain tunnels, and TransLink also gains ongoing revenue from its partnership with the carriers. Telus provided customers on their various carriers with access to the Dunsmuir Tunnel’s connectivity starting in early 2020.

Shaw also has a partnership with TransLink to blanket all buses, SkyTrain stations and trains, and other major transit hubs with free Wi-Fi connectivity. The rollout of free Wi-Fi connectivity began on the first buses and trains last month, and it is anticipated that the full systemwide rollout — at no cost to TransLink — will be complete by 2026.

Free WiFi has been available on all SeaBus vessels and terminals since 2016 when TransLink engaged with Shaw on their first WiFi partnership.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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