TTC Subway
Adam Muise, Unsplash

Rogers to Acquire BAI Canada, Plans 5G Service on TTC Subway System

Rogers Communications Inc. has announced an acquisition of BAI Canada and plans to offer 5G connectivity to the Toronto subway system, including access to 911 calling for all riders.

Rogers has entered into an agreement to acquire BAI Communications’ Canadian operations, which held the exclusive rights to build the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC’s) wireless network since 2012. With this acquisition, Rogers plans to invest in building a comprehensive and reliable 5G network for the TTC subway system. This will include 911 access.

Today, TTC passengers with any mobile provider can call 911, but only where the cellular network exists. This include on station platforms, concourses, and approximately 25% of the tunnels. Rogers says with this new acquisition, the company will work to quickly address gaps in what it calls the “busiest and most critical sections of the subway system.”

“We know safety is top of mind for Torontonians,” says Ron McKenzie, Rogers’ Chief Technology and Information Officer. “Residents and visitors expect wireless connectivity when they’re travelling on the TTC’s subway system.

“The agreement to acquire BAI Canada,” he continues, “is a significant first step in modernizing and expanding the existing network to deliver enhanced 5G wireless service to millions of transit riders throughout the entire subway system in Canada’s largest city. As the country’s biggest investor in 5G with Canada’s largest 5G network, Rogers is proud to be making these investments to deliver world-class connectivity for Torontonians.”

Over time, riders will experience the rollout of 5G coverage for all wireless services beyond 911. The 5G network build is expected to take approximately two years to complete because of the limited overnight construction windows available to complete network installations so the subway remains operational for riders. Together with the TTC, Rogers will work on a phased deployment plan, including network design, architecture, and rollout logistics, for both network improvements and expansion in the stations, concourses and in all the subway tunnels.

Extensive fibre network and radio equipment upgrades are needed to modernize the network and increase cellular capacity of the current 3G and 4G network and the quality of services, adding new 5G mobile services for millions of additional users.

The completed 5G network will deliver seamless wireless coverage with mobile voice and data services in all 75 stations and almost 80 kilometres of Toronto’s subway system, part of Rogers’ commitment to expand connectivity for Torontonians.

This milestone investment builds on Rogers’ existing initiatives to bring advanced mobile connectivity to underground transit riders across the country. These initiatives include agreements with TransLink to bring wireless connectivity across the full SkyTrain system in the Greater Vancouver Area and the Société de transport de Montréal with other Canadian carriers to bring connectivity in all 68 metro stations and over 70 kms of tunnel in Montreal.

Rogers expects its acquisition of BAI Canada to close in the next two weeks. Completion of the acquisition of BAI Canada is subject to closing conditions.