Online & Underground: NewCities launches online tool mapping Internet connectivity in underground metro systems worldwide

Paris, France July 23, 2014. The NewCities Foundation launched Online & Underground, an interactive online tool exploring the level of Internet connectivity across the world’s largest metropolitan underground systems. Online & Underground was created in partnership with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), NewCities Founding Member, Ericsson, and innovation agency FABERNOVEL. The Online & Underground interactive tool can be accessed at: The Online & Underground info-graphic, comprising a selection of key findings, can be accessed at:

Online & Underground:

Key Findings Online & Underground reveals that:

  • More than 3/4 of the subway systems surveyed provide some level of Internet access underground, either in stations (73%) or on-board trains (58%). • The major Internet access technology underground is mobile broadband.
  • The Middle East and Asia Pacific regions are leading the way in getting their subway systems connected – with 100% and 91% of surveyed underground systems currently offering connectivity, respectively.
  • In Europe, 88% of underground metro systems are fully connected, in comparison to 67% in North and Latin America and 33% in Russia.
  • Over the next 1-3 years, 68% of underground metro systems plan to increase their efforts to extend broadband connectivity in existing stations.
  • 60% of metro systems with Wi-Fi connectivity apply Wi-Fi restrictions today, and a slight increase is expected in the coming years

How Will Online & Underground Help Cities?

The aim of Online & Underground is to offer a comprehensive, easy-to-understand overview of the varying Internet connectivity in underground metro systems across the world. It is one step in an ongoing investigation into the future of urban mobility that NewCities is spearheading. The study provides the basis for future comparative explorations of the impact of subway connectivity on urban life. So, for example, some broader questions that this study raises are:

  • Why do people connect to the Internet underground? What do they do?
  • How does a connected trip impact areas such as passenger satisfaction, productivity, retail activity, loyalty, and so on?
  • Are there correlations between the level of underground Internet connectivity and propensity to use public transport, or with cities’ competitiveness, or economic productivity?

In the future, new, qualitative studies could be designed to answer these questions, for example, through comparative case studies that explore impact on social dimensions, such as citizen satisfaction with public transportation systems, safety and overall quality of life.

Naureen Kabir, Former Director of the NewCities applied research arm, the Urban (co)LAB, said: “Internet connectivity in underground transport systems is becoming a significant indicator of quality of life in cities. Produced in collaboration with a diverse range of partners, Online & Underground is the first comprehensive survey of underground connectivity in subways and its implications on many sectors. The study offers a clear, easy-to-understand overview of where we are today, and, most significantly, it offers a springboard for observing how these trends will change over time to impact urban life.”

Monika Byléhn, City Expert and Networked Society Evangelist, Ericsson, said: “Whether moving around cities above or underground, we use our smartphones on the go and expect instant, ubiquitous Internet access. For cities, mobile broadband technology is a critical infrastructure and should be considered an integral part of the underground metro system.”

Laurent Dauby, Director Rail Transport, UITP, said: “Urbanites are no longer content with being provided with fast, reliable metro connection from A to B. Nowadays, they expect travel experience with all comfort standards they are used to in their daily environment. Uninterrupted and fast broadband connection for their multiple devices is part of that. As a consequence, Internet connectivity is becoming a subject of paramount importance for the attractiveness and competitiveness of metros. This study helps to map where we are and hopefully will raise the awareness of more metros to deploy this lifestyle service.”

Paul Bois, Project Director at FABERNOVEL, said: “At FABERNOVEL, we have had the opportunity to participate in many innovative projects for cities, in areas as diverse as transportation, utilities, energy, urban furniture and space management. Nowadays, what stands out is the incredible potential of digital technology to create new customer services. Connectivity has become essential, and nowadays it’s vital for digital services to be accessible at all times. Connected transport systems means better accessibility, information, passenger flows and comfort. FABERNOVEL scripted this recent development, and it is only a first step toward a more digital travel experience”.

Access the full Online & Underground report in this link

Exploring the Future of Urban Mobility – an Ongoing Mission

NewCities wider work in the realm of urban transportation includes:


Press contact:
Thomas Ledwell
Director of Communications
+1 514 987 0029

About the NewCities Foundation

NewCities is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making cities more inclusive, connected, healthy and vibrant. Focusing on people, places and policies, we bring together a global network of public and private sector leaders and Urban Tech innovators to foster results-oriented collaboration. We also produce actionable research that can be implemented by decision-makers across sectors.
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About Ericsson

Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society – a world leader in communications technology and services. Our long-term relationships with every major telecom operator in the world allow people, businesses and societies to fulfill their potential and create a more sustainable future.

Our services, software and infrastructure – especially in mobility, broadband and the cloud – are enabling the telecom industry and other sectors to do better business, increase efficiency, improve the user experience and capture new opportunities.

With more than 110,000 professionals and customers in 180 countries, we combine global scale with technology and services leadership. We support networks that connect more than 2.5 billion subscribers. Forty percent of the world’s mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks. And our investments in research and development ensure that our solutions – and our customers – stay in front.

Founded in 1876, Ericsson has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Net sales in 2013 were SEK 227.4 billion (USD 34.9 billion). Ericsson is listed on NASDAQ OMX stock exchange in Stockholm and the NASDAQ in New York.

About UITP

The International Association of Public Transport (UITP) is a passionate champion of sustainable urban mobility and is the only worldwide network to bring together all public transport stakeholders and all sustainable transport modes. We have 1,300 member companies giving access to 14,000 contacts from 92 countries. Our members are public transport authorities and operators, policy decision-makers, research institutes and the public transport supply and service industry.


The innovation agency FABERNOVEL combines technology, design and emerging trends to invent new products, services, and experiences. Our team of 100 passionate people help world leading companies to build growth at startup speed. Founded in 2003 and based in Paris, San Francisco, New York, Lisbon and Moscow, FABERNOVEL creates a symbiotic relationship between two seemingly opposite forces: the titans of the Fortune 500 industry and the up and comers of the startup world. We strive to be a platform where both can be stronger, faster and smarter.