Train passengers will soon have free access to high speed Wi-Fi as ministers announce new wireless internet service plans this week.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We all know how frustrating it can be to have our phone calls and internet use constantly disrupted by poor signal while travelling on trains.
“At the moment it happens too often. Passengers expect and deserve better, and with these plans, that is what they’ll get.”
The new on board Wi-Fi will benefit passengers on trains from London to Bedford, Brighton, Kent and Portsmouth, as well as services to Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.
The government wants to ensure that the new network is ten times faster than the Wi-Fi already on board some trains, and that it doesn’t fall prey to intermittent breaks caused by poor service.
The scheme will be paid for by a £70 million fine to be imposed on Network Rail as a penalty for missing its punctuality targets.
Ministers are hoping that the free, speedy Wi-Fi will encourage productivity among commuters and allow other passengers to ‘keep up with friends’.
Network Rail’s Wi-Fi follows the successful partnership between Virgin Media and the London Underground to provide Wi-Fi in over 137 London Underground stations, corridors and platforms.
The ever growing need to be connected, largely powered by the increase in smart phone usage, can only be good news for those who seek to connect with customers and potential customers over the internet. It also shows how marketers need to keep up with the fact that the majority of people are accessing information through their smartphones.