With the sole destroying chaos also known as CeBIT and the launch of the PS3 I nearly missed this highly significant announcement earlier in the week from London Underground.
In news that will delight 14 million Greater London inhabitants and make England's remaining 34m populace shrug, slur "Nancy Cockney Wuffters" and question where their taxes are going, the Tube will begin to trial in-train mobile phone services.
The testing will take place on the Waterloo & City platforms of Bank and Waterloo and extend to the tunnels between the two stations. The reason this piffling little line (I don't happen to use it) was chosen is because it is characterised by deep level tunnels which are unconnected to the rest of the Tube network.
If the trial is a success – which it surely will be – then LU will engage in a full tendering process to select a contractor to provide mobile phone and new technology services such as DAB and Internet access to the full network. The earliest date this would be completed is calculated as mid-2009.
Now before we all jump and cheer it is worth noting LU started feasibility studies into this in March 2005 and has taken TWO YEARS to commence this trial so we shouldn't get too carried away by end dates. Still with a February 2007 LU survey (carried out by MORI) of 1,007 respondents suggesting nearly one third of all residents were opposed to such a move perhaps we tech heads have lost touch with public opinion...?
...nah, these people are clearly technological dinosaurs who need to be crushed by the irrepressible wave of progress. Fetch me a surf board!
Transport for London (containing London Underground)