Government promises improved broadband connectivity on trains
Written by: Philip Mason | Published:

The UK government has announced its intention to “dramatically improve” broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity to mainline rail passengers by 2025.

Proposals laid out by the Department for Transport include the potential roll-out of masts, as well as fibre optic cables adjacent to tracks. Ministers are also hoping to ‘future proof’ the system ahead of 5G, with train connectivity anticipated to eventually operate at speeds of around one gigabit per second.

Speaking of the proposals, a government spokesperson said: “The rapid growth of mobile data requirements and the use of smartphones and tablets now means that consumers expect high quality, reliable connectivity everywhere.

“Minimum standards for mobile connectivity on new franchises are already being introduced, but today’s proposals set out how - working with industry - connectivity for passengers on all mainline routes could be dramatically improved by 2025.”

Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “Improved mobile connectivity will help passengers to keep up with work, connect with friends or check the latest journey information online while on the move. We continue to build and develop a railway fit for the twenty-first century.”

A trial testing track-to-track radio systems is currently taking place on the Trans Pennine route between Manchester and York, in partnership with Network Rail.

The announcement by the Department for Transport came just prior to news this week that UK rail fares are about to receive their biggest annual rise for five years.

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