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Paris Metro to have 100 percent internet coverage 'by next year'

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Paris Metro to have 100 percent internet coverage 'by next year'
Photo: AFP
17:39 CEST+02:00
Paris transport operator RATP has vowed that it is still on track to have 100 percent internet coverage on the Metro by the end of 2020.

At present the Metro - which is partially underground with some overground sections - has around 80 percent coverage, says the operator.

Metro users will know that some sections of the system have better coverage than others, with the older and deeper sections of the system frequently having no internet coverage - or phone signal come to that - at all.

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Recent independent tests carried out by French communications regulator Arcep found a huge variation between lines - with just 9.20 percent coverage for line 3a to 88.43 percent for line 1.

The reason for the disparity between the results was that RATP counts coverage as being able to pick up the 3G or 4G logo, while Arcep tested whether a web page would load in less than 10 seconds.

The tests - which were carried out in July 2018 - involved each line being crossed twice in a round trip by an agent, who had four phones equipped with SIM cards from each of the four operators. And the connection tests (2G, 3G and 4G) were performed at regular intervals.

But RATP says it is pressing ahead with getting full coverage and the goal of 100 percent coverage is still set for the end of 2020.

Among the challenges is finding the space underground to install the extra cables needed - especially as each phone network requires its own equipment.

"The electrical cabinets to be installed are not huge but they involve a dedicated room of a few square meters, which is not always easy to find in the stations," an RATP spokesman told French newspaper Le Parisien.
 
"It's an ant's job in sometimes cramped and complex conditions," added a spokesman for Orange, whose technicians work with RATP to improve the network.
 
Like many other works, the installations can only take place at night. And it is also necessary to be able to install air conditioners, to avoid overheating the cabinets.
 
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