No more interrupted WhatsApp conversations, cut videos, call waiting. This Monday, June 29, Île-de-France Mobilités, RATP and the four French telecom operators (Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free) announced that they have covered the entire Paris metro and RER lines of the mobile internet network 4G. A small underground revolution, even if other big cities like Rennes or Toulouse already had it.
This desire to deploy an efficient mobile network in public transport is not new for RATP. Seven years ago already, the management company announced that it wanted to build this 3G / 4G network for 2015. It will therefore have taken five more long years. But there were many obstacles. In a 2017 press release, the RATP identified in particular “The crampedness of technical premises in metro stations more than a century old”, “the need not to take risks in relation to the vital equipment necessary for operation”, “the obligation to carry out work at night” or “The need to work with 4 telephone operators”.
300 kilometers of cables
To deploy this technology, the RATP and the telephone operators had to install 300 km of cables, 3000 antennas and 280 technical rooms on infrastructure “Often underground and sometimes centenary”, according to a press release from RATP. In all, 321 telecom sites have been set up on the network to cover 304 underground stations. “Three accommodation rooms have also been created to house operator equipment outside certain stations, thus reducing space and air conditioning constraints“Continues the RATP.
“The intervention conditions were extremely cramped and constrained, we confirm with Orange, the operator who coordinated operations with RATP. We had to find the space to install the equipment and air conditioning of the mobile sites, which still represents 3000 square meters of technical rooms. In addition, it was necessary to intervene in constrained conditions, between 2 and 5 am. ”
At Orange, we ensure that 4G operates at a speed of 10 to 30 MB / s, depending on the lines and the saturation of the stations, which offers “An extremely fluid use, even for watching films or series”.
This Tuesday morning, the network was indeed particularly efficient. The few travelers, sorted according to the new sanitary provisions, seemed very busy, heads down on a backlit screen. In Richelieu-Drouot, on line 9, in Argentina, on the 1, or in Auber, on the RER A, in the corridors and in the wagons, not a 4G cut. A heavy blow for the few books that resisted again and again in the underground mysteries of the capital.
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