Improved Wi-Fi for rail passengers by 2017

The government has announced that it is to release £50 million of funding for free Wi-Fi on rail networks across England and Wales.

Rail Minister Claire Perry has said that the Department of Transport is to ensure that Wi-Fi is available on a broader selection of services by 2017.

In addition, all future bids for new franchises and direct award agreements will have to include provisions for Wi-Fi infrastructure.

The government will make £50 million available for improvements on Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN); Southeastern; Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales.

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.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “the government is earmarking around £50 million to provide free wi-fi on trains; this and our other franchising improvements mean that nearly three-quarters of rail journeys will be made on trains with wi-fi provision.”

Train operators will work in conjunction with the Department of Transport to develop effective proposals to target the services with the greatest need and benefit for free Wi-Fi. The government has said it is focusing upon operators that otherwise would have limited or no intention to invest in Wi-Fi infrastructure to give the greatest benefit to customers.

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