The Victorian Coalition Government has reached an agreement with Optus, Telstra and Vodafone to extend mobile coverage to the City Loop tunnels, Premier Denis Napthine and Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today.
“For the first time, metro rail passengers, through their mobile phone carrier, will have high-quality mobile coverage throughout the City Loop tunnels and its underground stations,” Dr Napthine said.
“This will ensure that Melbourne’s City Loop tunnels and underground stations will be mobile phone friendly.
“No longer will a passenger on a mobile phone need to say ‘I’m just about to cut out, I’m going through the Loop.
“Improved mobile coverage means being able to make an uninterrupted phone call, send a text or an email, continuously stream videos and music, surf the web or any of the other thousands of uses that people now rely on their phones and other mobile devices to do.”
Dr Napthine said the Coalition Government’s multi-million dollar investment from state rail body VicTrack had delivered the infrastructure to enable mobile coverage.
“Mobile phone coverage throughout the underground section of the City Loop will improve commuters’ travelling experience and the service provided within the railway network,” Dr Napthine said.
Mr Mulder welcomed the project that uses the infrastructure installed as a part of the $152 million Digital Train Radio System project to allow mobile coverage in the City Loop tunnels and its stations.
“Mobile coverage will stop phones dropping out and give commuters access to the internet via their carrier, at the users cost,” Mr Mulder said.
“By the end of 2014, Phase 1 will deliver 3G wireless services. Phase 2 in 2015 will deliver the full solution for all carriers to provide 4G wireless services.”
Mr Mulder said this project built on the improvements to the metropolitan rail system already implemented by the Coalition Government.
“Since coming to government we have improved on-time performance, reduced overcrowding and from next year we will be making public transport cheaper through reducing the cost of travel across Zones 1 and 2 to the same cost as Zone 1,” Mr Mulder said.
This announcement is on top of funding allocated in the 2014-15 State Budget for an upgrade to the City Loop fire and emergency equipment, bringing it into line with current safety standards.
Regional Victorians are also set to receive better internet connectivity, with the Coalition Government recently committing $40 million to fix mobile blackspots and deliver free Wi-Fi on V/Line’s commuter belt trains.
Wireless mobile coverage in the City Loop has been largely funded by VicTrack, on behalf of the Coalition Government and by the carriers themselves, led by Optus.