Working under downtown San Francisco with GPRS

by Matthew Gast

Given the price of gas these days, I'm fortunate enough that I can take BART to my office. Last week, as the train passed through the downtown San Francisco area (Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery, and Embarcadero stations), I noticed that my phone finds a network and hooks up to it. The network has been around since AT&T Wireless built it in 2002, but it has never been available before. I suspect that T-Mobile must have just entered into a roaming agreement to use the antennas there. According to previous news stories, the signal is designed only to work on the platforms, but I've had reasonable luck getting weak signals in the tunnels between stations. Even though the train is too loud to use my phone for voice communication, it's very handy for sending text messages. This morning, I fired up the GPRS connection. It took quite some time to establish, and the data throughput is much more sluggish than I'm used to. Even so, a trickle of data beats no data. Now, if only the network could get extended so that I had more than 6-8 minutes of coverage while passing through those four stations...

2 Comments

tbridge777
2005-11-19 07:58:35
When Service is Crucial
I was in San Francisco in late september of this year, and my fiancee and I were trying to get from dinner, high up on Market St., to the train station in Amtrak to catch our train back to the valley. the GPRS connection in the muni and bart stations was an absolute life-saver as we calculated exchange times on the schedule over email with someone on a landline connection. It was the ride of our life, but we might have been in vain but for that email connection.
tbridge777
2005-11-19 07:59:06
When Service is Crucial
Train station in Richmond, pardon the typo.