Metro's Silence Will Be Broken Friday - NBC4 Washington

Metro's Silence Will Be Broken Friday

Metro on track to expand cell service



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    Shhhh... Hear that? No? That's the peace and quiet you currently get while waiting for a Metro train.

    But that silence will be broken on Friday, when cell phones that used to lay dormant underground come alive.

    A new wireless network will provide service to customers of Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile starting Friday at 20 of the busiest stations.

    Previously, only Verizon Wireless customers had service in the system, along with Sprint phones that could roam onto the Verizon network. That meant you, me and our plugged-in D.C. neighbors were forced to put down our iPhones, Sidekicks and BlackBerries for a few minutes and actually look up and smell the tunnel fires.

    But no more!

    Metro spokeswoman Steven Taubenkibel said the transit agency is still on track to open the new network on Friday in the following stations: Ballston, Bethesda, Columbia Heights, Crystal City, Dupont Circle, Farragut North, Farragut West, Federal Triangle, Foggy Bottom-GWU, Friendship Heights, Gallery Pl-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, L’Enfant Plaza, McPherson Square, Metro Center, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Rosslyn, Smithsonian and Union Station.

    Metro is adding the service as part of an agreement with Congress to secure $1.5 billion in federal funding over 10 years. It's required to have cell service throughout the entire system -- including in the tunnels between stations -- by October 2012.

    Metro said the cell phone carriers will install service at the remaining 27 underground stations by the fall of 2010 and that customers will be able to use these carrier-provided wireless services in tunnels between stations by October 2012.”