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January 2, 2018

UK to improve onboard mobile connectivity for rail passengers

The UK Government has unveiled new plans to improve mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity on-board the country's train services as part of its wider 5G strategy.

The UK Government has unveiled new plans to improve mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity on-board the country’s train services as part of its wider 5G strategy.

The new set of proposals aims to significantly improve connectivity for passengers across all mainline routes by 2025.

Every train is expected to receive internet speeds of around one Gigabit per Second (Gbps) under the development, which could allow up to several hundred passengers to stream uninterrupted video content simultaneously.

"We want people to be able to get connected where they live, work and travel. This means improving connections on Britain’s railways now."

UK Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: “We want people to be able to get connected where they live, work and travel.

“This means improving connections on Britain’s railways now and making sure they are fit for the future.

“We’ve got a long way to travel but our destination is world-class signal for passengers.

“This will not only make journeys more enjoyable and productive, but will help improve the operation and safety of the railway and deliver economic benefits for the whole of the UK.”

The initiative may necessitate the upgrade of trackside infrastructure in areas of high demand, as well as inaccessible areas such as tunnels.

The upgrade could be achieved by laying fibre along the tracks and mounting wireless devices on masts to transmit the signal to trains.

Trial works have already begun on the TransPennine route between Manchester and York in partnership with Network Rail.

The pilot project forms part of the government’s £31bn National Productivity Investment Fund and is intended to allow the associated parties to better understand various technical and implementation challenges.

In addition, the government has launched a call for evidence to explore different ways to support the development of a digitally connected railway in the UK.

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