Today’s news that Sydney train tunnels are getting 3G reception shows that soon it will be hard to use “no-reception” as an excuse for being offline.
It’s been on the cards for a few years now, but we can see a time where being “offline” – in cities at least – will no longer be an excuse for failing to answer a call or text.
The latest reception black spots to go online in Sydney are train tunnels, with Telstra and Optus announcing 3G services on the North Shore and Western Line tunnels. Telstra users are being promised reception from Central to North Sydney, including Wynyard and Central stations. Optus says its users will have “no drop outs” between Central and Chatswood.
In addition, City Circle and Eastern suburbs lines are also going to get reception (though not at time of writing).
The connecting of public transport has been a gradual process. In some cities in Australia, free Wi-Fi fills in the gaps where there’s no mobile reception – such as on certain Brisbane trains. Sydney Ferries boasts almost all of its services have free Wi-Fi. But Wi-Fi isn’t common across all Sydney trains and buses, despite various extended trials. We note this question to NSW Parliament, dated May 23 this year, asking if the Government had considered expanding the trial of free Wi-Fi on buses, trains and ferries, to which the answer was: “a range of factors are being considered in the use of technology to improve customer experience.”
Meanwhile, the mobile carriers are forging ahead.