Americans today are almost always on the grid. Even in 2015, however, there's one place where people still have to hang up their smartphones: underground subways.
But there's good news ahead for public transportation riders who experience heart palpitations when their connection gets cut off. Several of the country's largest cities are working with the four major cell carriers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, to patch up these digital black holes.
By the end of the year, Chicago's CTA will be the largest subway system in the nation to have full 4G in tunnels and stations. There are also plans to upgrade systems in other cities across the country, from New York to LA.
The changes are underway as improving connectivity underground is becoming more crucial to commuters, who use transit time as an extension of their work day, said Scott Mair, a senior vice president at AT&T.
"Our customers expect to use their devices anywhere they are. And if you see what people do during their commute, they're on their devices," he said. "It's like a second office for them. So we need to be in those places."