The government has revealed a plan in which could see the UK’s train passengers to benefit coming from a dramatic improvement in onboard mobile as well as Wi-Fi connections.
The rapid growth of mobile data requirements as well as the use of smartphones as well as tablets today means in which consumers expect high quality, reliable connectivity everywhere.
As part of its 5G strategy, the government has committed to improving coverage where people live, work as well as travel – including on trains.
Minimum standards for mobile connectivity on brand-new franchises already being introduced, nevertheless the brand-new proposals set out how, working with industry, connectivity for passengers on all mainline routes could be dramatically much better by 2025.
Minister for digital, Matt Hancock, said: “We want people to be able to get connected where they live, work as well as travel.
“in which means improving connections on Britain’s railways today, as well as generating sure they are fit for the future.
“We’ve got a long way to travel nevertheless our destination can be world-class signal for passengers.
“in which will not only make journeys more enjoyable as well as productive, nevertheless will help improve the operation as well as safety of the railway as well as deliver economic benefits for the whole of the UK.”
The announcement has been welcomed by business groups.
Adrian Parkes, chief executive of GTMC, said: “We welcome the announcement coming from the department for transport on a brand-new plan to install fibre optic cables as well as mobile masts alongside rail tracks.
“For several years the GTMC called on the government to invest in delivering reliable mobile as well as Wi-Fi services on all mainline routes to enable greater productivity when travelling.
“Our business travel research coming from earlier in which year found in which less than half of frequent travellers feel in which the on-board facilities are adequate for allowing them to get work done.
“Free WI-FI was cited as the most important improvement required, proving its need for increasing productivity on the move.
“in which announcement, building on the budget commitment to boost investment in 5G mobile networks as well as mobile communications for rail passengers, can be encouraging as well as will make a real difference to the ability of business travellers to work on the move.”
Rail passenger connectivity can be largely delivered through mobile phone networks operating coming from remote (non-trackside) masts, meaning coverage can be patchy as well as in many places, non-existent.
To deliver the improvements, upgraded trackside infrastructure could be required for reliable connectivity in areas of high passenger demand as well as in hard to reach areas such as tunnels.
Delivering in which will involve laying fibre along the tracks, mounting wireless devices on masts (as well as different trackside infrastructure) to transmit the signal to the train; as well as providing power supplies to these masts.
Bruce Williamson coming from Railfuture said: “Wi-fi has moved coming from being an optional extra to something essential for the 21st century rail passenger, so we welcome any improvements to capacity as well as coverage.
“in which should become absolutely standard for all trains on the British railway network to have seamless connectivity, as in which’s essential for attracting the smartphone connected generation to rail, as well as the business traveller working on the move.
“Very soon, trains without Wi-Fi will become unthinkable, as well as rail passengers will look forward to the day when the phone doesn’t cut out in tunnels.”
To help the government understand some of the technical as well as practical deployment challenges of trackside infrastructure, work has already begun on a trial on the Trans Pennine route between Manchester as well as York, in partnership with Network Rail.