Stay connected even when you go underground

CMRL may soon start making arrangements to ensure good mobile connectivity on the underground stretch

June 12, 2014 02:26 am | Updated 02:26 am IST

Illustration: Satwik Gade

Illustration: Satwik Gade

A really erratic mobile network connection is something all of us have probably experienced, while on the move, every now and then.

If your mobile phone signal can fail you on the road, have you thought what it will be like when you ride underground?

Perhaps it is time to put that thought into your head. Not very many years from now, it is likely you will be riding the Chennai Metro underground.

Folks at Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL) have, however, already thought of this, to their credit.

CMRL may soon start making arrangements to ensure good mobile connectivity on the underground stretch.

“We are considering various options to boost mobile network underground. It is important we provide such a service,” says a CMRL official. Chennai Metro, built at a cost of Rs. 14,600 crore, 45 km across the city, will have 24 km underground. Of the 32 stations, 19 will be underground.

CMRL has drawn the idea from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), a principal consultant. Sometime back, Delhi Metro Rail had installed additional cellular towers at its underground stations to improve mobile connectivity.

The value of such a facility will surface especially during a crisis, according to Nishant Shah of Centre for Internet and Society.

“Connectivity becomes crucial when something untoward — be it breakdown of infrastructure or even sexual harassment — occurs on the underground stretch. It needs to be recorded or documented immediately,” he says.

Janaki Pillai of Ability Foundation says connectivity is particularly critical for the hearing impaired, who often use the messaging and WhatsApp services.

“But the question of them using the underground stations and the need for mobile connectivity arises only when the stations are accessible. Whether I choose to use it or not is different, but the service should be available and the choice should be mine,” she says.

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