Verizon re-doing neutral-host DAS in Pittsburgh tunnels after 2014 DOT-mandated de-install

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are all hopping on new a shared distributed antenna system (DAS) in the Liberty Tubes and the Fort Pitt and Squirrel Hill tunnels in the Pittsburgh area in order to help prevent dropped calls for motorists.

Verizon is installing a neutral-host DAS that will support all four operators in the tunnels. All four carriers previously had similar systems installed in the tunnels but construction about three years ago interrupted service there. Now the carriers are on the verge of a new deal with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to get service up and running again.

"Our de-install in 2014 came as a direct result of a PENNDOT request so that they could begin construction on the tunnels and now the tunnels are ready for the DAS install," Sprint spokeswoman Adrienne Norton confirmed to FierceInstaller, while also confirming that Sprint would be one of the four carriers operating on the DAS that Verizon is installing.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the work is scheduled to be done by September. The operators have already finished installing conduit in two of the three tunnels.

Verizon said in the report that it has handled many other similar neutral-host projects in other tunnels, stadiums and subways. But in other circumstances, U.S. operators have been able to hop on coverage improvement projects spearheads by transportation authorities.

In the D.C. Metro, all four carriers should benefit from better coverage from leaky coaxial cable install being handled by Metro employees. As is likely the case with other cellular coverage projects in transportation tunnels like the install happening in Pittsburgh, the D.C. Metro project was being pushed forward in part to ensure consumers can stay connected in case of an emergency.

In D.C., a 2015 incident saw smoke fill a tunnel near L'Enfant Plaza, leaving one rider dead and 86 more sickened. Dan Stessel, spokesperson for D.C. Metro, said many riders had difficulty contacting emergency services with their mobile devices.

For more:
- read this Pittsburgh Press-Gazette article

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