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February 11, 2015

UK rail passengers to access free Wi-Fi service by 2017

The UK Department of Transport (DfT) has decided to to provide free Wi-Fi on trains across England and Wales from 2017.

By Samseer M

wifi-rail-lines

The UK Department of Transport (DfT) has decided to to provide free Wi-Fi on trains across England and Wales from 2017.

An investment of approximately £50m will be made to assist the current operators, including Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN), Southeastern, Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales, in bringing Wi-Fi on selected services.

Operators bidding for new franchises and direct award agreements are required to include Wi-Fi specification in their bids.

UK Rail Minister Claire Perry said: "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."

"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."

The £50m funding will be raised from the £53.1m fine that Network Rail is required to pay for missing punctuality targets set by the UK Office of Rail Regulation.

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The operators will identify the most appropriate services and routes and the funding will be released to satisfactory proposals.

In December, UK’s Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) decided to provide Wi-Fi service on its Metrolink trains by mid-2015.

Under the project, 94 trams of Metrolink will have Wi-Fi technology.


Image: The UK will spend £50m to provide free Wi-Fi on trains in England and Wales. Photo: courtesy of UK Department of Transport.

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