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Cell Service Planned For Muni Subway Dead Zones

KCBS_740SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Dropped calls for San Francisco Municipal Railway riders entering the City's subway system could soon be a thing of the past.

Officials finally announced plans to bring cellphone service to the Muni Metro subway.

The proposal, which will be presented to the SFMTA board on Tuesday, would contract with BART to expand BART's existing underground cell infrastructure to Muni Metro stations.

BART has already constructed the country's first underground cellular network that allows multiple carriers to use the same equipment. The network is used by AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and Metro PCS.

The expansion of BART's existing network to Muni is expected to take around 12 to 18 months once agreements are reached with cellular carriers. The carriers are expected to pay the costs of the construction as well as annual licensing fees.

San Francisco Supervisor London Breed called the current situation, where riders cannot check emails or contact employers or family to let them know they are running late unfair and outdated.

"Nowadays you even get cell service on an airplane.  We gotta keep up with the times," Breed said.

Nearly 200,000 people ride Muni trains every day.

"I have cell service now and then. I lose it right when I get to Church, and I don't get it back until West Portal," Muni rider Chloe Recollon said.

The contract will go to the Board of Supervisors for approval after the SFMTA board vote.

© Copyright 2016 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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