Yorkshire-based train operator East Coast has today announced a new investment of £2.2 million that will be used to upgrade the wireless (wifi) Internet access services on-board each of its 44 trains in order to improve service speeds and reliability.
In 2003 East Coast became one of the first train operators to pioneer Wi-Fi on a moving train in the United Kingdom and the latest announcement has clearly been designed to benefit from Network Rails project to make “high speed” Mobile Broadband based Internet access services available to 70% of train commuters by 2019 (here).
Peter Williams, East Coast’s Customer Service Director, said:
“We know that Wi-Fi is one of the key reasons why people choose to travel with us, instead of driving or flying. It’s vital that our system keeps up with rapidly rising demand from passengers, starting with a more reliable connection into the system from the moment their journey with us begins.
The investment we are making will upgrade the consistency of the service, by replacing on-train servers, access points and switching equipment which is used to deliver Wi-Fi in every carriage.
We want our passengers to feel at home whenever they travel with us. A key part of that is staying connected throughout the journey – that’s why we’re investing now to ensure our Wi-Fi users can look forward to a reliable connection and faster connection speeds in years to come.”
Apparently East Coast’s improvements will begin to be deployed from early 2014 and this will make use of the improved mobile coverage and fibre optic capacity provided via Network Rail’s on-going trackside infrastructure upgrade. No doubt other train operators will do something similar.