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August 17, 2021

Avanti West Coast to improve digital connectivity on West Coast route

The West Coast route will have enhanced 4G network coverage by June 2023.

UK-based train operating company Avanti West Coast has teamed up with telecommunications company BT to modernise digital connectivity on the West Coast Main Line.

Avanti West Coast will invest $62.11m (£45m) for the execution of this programme.

Under the partnership, BT will increase the network capacity to 200 cell masts through its mobile unit EE.

By June 2023, the West Coast route will have enhanced 4G network coverage, allowing commuters to avail faster, more reliable onboard train Wi-Fi.

Both the companies will invest in technology upgrades and address Wi-Fi blackspots where signal is poor or non-existent.

As part of the investment, Avanti West Coast will upgrade the Wi-Fi system while BT will offer connectivity and infrastructure to enable the onboard Wi-Fi.

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As a result, commuters will be able to access internet on their devices for free.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Avanti West Coast’s upgrade work, supported by the Department for Transport, is a win for everyone who uses, or lives close to the West Coast Main Line.

“Investing in better connectivity helps transform rail travel, improving journeys for passengers by building a black-spot free network, with the added benefit of supporting local communities.”

Additional masts and technology improvements will also offer enhanced connectivity for EE customers residing near the West Coast Main Line, along with the emergency service respondents in the area.

This development will improve coverage in areas with current 4G and introduce new 4G coverage.

Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Staffordshire, Cumbria, and other regions will benefit from this initiative.

Avanti West Coast managing director Phil Whittingham said: “It’s a significant step towards better digital connectivity on the West Coast Main Line, which has never been more important.

“These improvements will enable our customers to stay connected during their journey and be more productive onboard our trains while boosting mobile coverage for communities local to our route.”

Avanti West Coast commenced the country’s biggest train fleet modernisation project last month.

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