WiFi on the Underground: Why More and More Metro Systems Are Going Wireless

For people who are horribly addicted to their smart phones, there’s nothing more annoying than going underground for a metro train and seeing that ominous “no signal” icon. It’s more than just an annoyance that keeps you from checking your mail. It disconnects you from the outside world entirely which can cause all sorts of problems when it comes to urgent matters or emergencies. Fortunately, a lot of government’s are responding to this by adding WiFi options for people who are underground and in trains. The question is; why are so many metro systems switching over?

Eliminating Trivial Inconvenience

Anyone familiar with modern consumer culture over the Internet, for example, knows how important it is to make sure that small inconveniences crop up. There’s so much competition for services these days that the smallest thing could cause someone to choose a different service. Metro stations are really no different. Many people could drive instead, or take a bus, or even take above ground trains, or planes depending on the length of the trip. Considering how popular the Internet is these days, and how many people are doing business on it every day, a means of transportation that has Internet will likely be favored against options that don’t, it’s that simple.

More Connected

Another advantage to Metro WiFi is that many companies and cities are offering it for free. Generally speaking, many WiFi options here will be offered by particular trains to help motivate customers to take those trains. But some actually are offered by the stations themselves. And one major advantage here is that it becomes yet another source of free WiFi for people who don’t normally have it.

Internet Means Phone Service for VoIP

Another advantage to WiFi, either free or very cheap especially, is that those who use primarily business VoIP options will be able to get connected easily. After all, just because you have Internet underground, doesn’t mean you’ll get any bars. So it will primarily be the people who have Internet based services that will easily be able to make phone calls. Those who still use the regular cell towers for voice will still be completely out of luck and stuck with no easy way to communicate.


For example, one place where there will be free WiFi coming up soon is in London.  The UK mobile operator O2 announced this summer that customers using the London Underground will now be able to access free WiFi. The service will require you to register first, but then you’ll have free access for any time you’re nearby. Other trains are also offering this service as well such as Virgin Media though they ask for a fee for a day of use.


There are now 30 stations on the MTA that now offer free WiFi between 14th and 96th street in Manhattan. You have to see a short 15 second video in order to use the service, but many people will find it well worth it to get connected to that sweet Internet again.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Ashley Williamson, a freelance writer on tech-related topics. You can find her articles on various sites. When she is not working she likes to travel and do yoga. If you have any question feel free to leave a comment below.

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