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PM David Cameron Promises FREE WiFi on UK Trains by 2017

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 (5:51 pm) - Score 1,225
uk train

The UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, has today announced the launch of a new scheme that will see the Department for Transport facilitating a £47.8m roll-out of free wireless Internet (wifi) connectivity on trains across England and Wales by 2017. Other parts of the UK are also being encouraged to do the same.

Several train operators, including Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN), Southeastern, Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales, are currently being asked to meet the commitment as part of their new franchises and direct award agreements. Funding will then be awarded subject to satisfactory proposals being received.

David Cameron said:

I am pleased to announce plans that will see the rollout of free Wi-Fi on trains across the UK from 2017. The Government will invest nearly £50 million to ensure that rail passengers are better connected.

Passengers that make over 500 million journeys every year with the four rail operators, TSGN, Southeastern, Chiltern, Arriva Trains Wales, will all benefit from this investment.”

Claire Perry MP, Rail Minister, said:

I am determined to improve journeys for rail passengers. Free wi-fi is a priority for many as being able to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online helps make rail travel more productive.

We are investing record amounts in the rail network as part of our long-term economic plan, and this investment, coupled with major works such as the Thameslink programme, new Intercity Express trains and the Northern Hub, will ensure that passengers will soon have a railway fit for the 21st century.”

Some of this may sound familiar and that’s because the plan was technically already announced last year (here), with funding for the upgrades stemming from a fine of £53.1m that was levelled against Network Rail by the Office for Rail Regulations (ORR) for failing to meet their performance targets.

Out of the £53.1 million total penalty against Network Rail, some £5.3 million has also been allocated to the Scottish government, in line with the proportion of the penalty paid by Network Rail for late train running in Scotland. It’s worth pointing out that a lot of rail operators have already deployed or begun deploying similar on-board WiFi services.

Now, if we could just be given a bit more detail.

Leave a Comment
7 Responses
  1. Avatar No Clue

    Note no percentage figures on what trains or where… The statement of “free Wi-Fi on trains across the UK from 2017” is meaningless you have that already albeit scattered and on relatively speaking few services.

    In short election vote touting nothing more.

  2. Avatar dragoneast

    Free wifi is a lovely way of delivering ads to your phone (and even better if you have to give your email to register), and for those who are suspicious monitoring your movements – after all it’s easy to collect the identifying MACs. (Anyone ever read the t&cs for the services?) Many stores already do this for monitoring customer movements so that they can better place the things they want you to buy. And Dave’s only job in the real world was in marketing wasn’t it, I seem to recall? But it’s all for our (sic) benefit!

  3. Avatar tonyp

    Whatever happened to watching the world go by the window? Sigh! Edward Thomas’s ‘Adlestrop’ no more!

  4. Avatar Bo Selecta

    If it is anything like the Icomera service provided on some Scotrail trains it will be terrible.

  5. Avatar Trevor Harris

    I think most people would prefer the money to be spent on more seats.

  6. Avatar Curious

    ‘“I am pleased to announce plans that will see the rollout of free Wi-Fi on trains across the UK from 2017’. Let’s just take a look where those 5 operators operate.

    Chiltern goes as far as Birmingham
    Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern is London and surroudning areas
    Arriva Trains Wales goes as far as Manchester.
    Southeastern – No explanation needed.

    Okay, so this really isn’t across the UK, is it? What about the north East? North West? THE NORTH!?

    Yet again, UK doesn’t seem to include the places that time forgot?

  7. Avatar hmmm

    wow big deal mr scameron

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