London mayor Boris Johnson will soon announce that all of London's Tube network will get mobile phone reception by 2012, the Telegraph reports. It's been talked about for years, but never put into action because networks don't think they'll recoup their costs -- in their words, it's not "commercially viable".
BoJo has taken it upon himself to "bash heads together in the mobile phone industry" to get it going. It will be achieved by a very long transmitter threaded along the roof of the Tube's 112 miles of tunnels, with antennas placed at the end of each carriage. The cartoonish Tory wants a similar system on the Eurostar.
With the increasing need to use the Internet for many of smart phone's most useful functions, such as apps that give travel directions, reception on the Tube would be really useful. Spending hours every week on the Tube, we'd to love to look at online newspapers and social networks to pass the time -- even if it meant having to listen to people's mind-explodingly dull conversations.
The Olympics is London's opportunity to make a good impression on the world, and we don't want confused tourists getting lost on the Tube simply because they can't get reception to tell them where they're going. The inevitable deluge of Olympic-related apps will need connectivity too -- it may even have been one of the promises given to the Olympic committee when they awarded the games to London.
It won't be the first time a phone network has provided mobile coverage in the UK -- O2 did it for Glasgow's underground stations two years ago.
Londoners, would this be a mobile Web boon or will you curse Johnson's name for inflicting banal one-sided chats on your already fraught commute? And for those of you lucky enough to live outside of the capital, would you be willing to share the cost through your phone bill?
Image credit: Boris-Johnson.com