When it was announced earlier this week that the long-delayed subway cell phone project was lurching forward, some of you were upset that the signal would not extend into the subway tunnels, thereby depriving you of priceless "Overheard in NY" material. But don't worry; one of the companies that won the contract, Q-Wireless, says cell phone users with vital information to impart will be able to get a signal in most subway tunnels. And it'll work for Nextel chirp phones, too!
Coverage will extend between stations where stops are relatively close to each other and tunnels are wide enough, and will be strongest in wider tunnels with express and local tracks, because the signal needs room to spread out to be most effective. "That's how it works, that's the physics of it," Q-Wireless CEO Alex Mashinsky tells the Daily News.
Transit Wireless (the joint venture that includes Q-Wireless) has up to two years to outfit six stations to test the technology, then another four years to rig up the rest of the 277 underground stations. But it will only work if cell phone companies reach an agreement with Transit Wireless. "If consumers really want this, they are going to have to make some noise," he said. As if they needed any encouragement.