News

Houston – We Have a Problem – with the WiFi.

(31 Mar 2020, BWCS Staff)
The City of Houston is to expand a trial WiFi service to include all of its trains, buses and para-transport vehicles. According to the Texan city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, its entire fleet of 1,736 vehicles will be kitted out to offer the service over the next 15 months. However, while the MTA admits that on-transit WiFi services have been high on its riders’ wish-list of improvements for some time, the City has been slow in agreeing to implement it. In fact, it was back in December 2018 that the MTA first announced a six-month test of WiFi on certain local bus and......

Nomad Wins Major Contract to Supply WiFi on Danish/Swedish Öresund Trains

(18 Mar 2020, BWCS Staff)
Nomad Digital has won a large order to supply its WiFi on-board solution to trains running on the Danish-Swedish Öresund routes. According to the UK supplier, the “multi-million pound” deal will see it kit out 111 trains, increasing its share of the market in both Denmark and Sweden. The Newcastle-based company is to supply, design and deliver a complete on-train Passenger WiFi solution and provide maintenance and operation services. Nomad Digital’s new contract builds on its existing relationship with DSB, the Danish national train operator. At the same time, it says it......

London Underground Gets Partial 4G Coverage as Trial Kicks Off

(18 Mar 2020, BWCS Staff)
Today, March 18th, sees the start of a long-promised trial of 4G mobile services along part of the London Underground. TfL said the service will be available on the platforms and tunnels of a section of the Jubilee line between Westminster and Canning Town. London Bridge and Waterloo stations will follow later in the year. The latest attempt to eliminate what has been dubbed the UK’s largest “not-spot” comes as a result of a 2015 initiative put forward by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. At the time the plan called for 4G by 2019. In 2017, Transport for London (TfL)......

New Dish to Boost Appetite for Satellite-Delivered Data to Trains?

(27 Feb 2020, BWCS Staff)
A Scottish research team claims to have developed a new type of Hybrid Flat Panel Antenna capable of delivering fast on-train Internet connections. The group, based at Herriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, says it will streamline satellite data delivery to trains by-passing patchy 4g/5G mobile network systems. As things stand, trains, ships and aircraft can be adapted to house motorised dishes or antennas that automatically lock on to a Satellite to supply data connectivity. However, to date, these systems have tended to be bulky and costly, which has meant they are often unsuitable for......

Chennai Metro Riders to get Access to “Closed-Loop” WiFi System

(26 Feb 2020, BWCS Staff)
Passengers travelling on the Chennai Metro will soon be able to access a slew of TV and film content, via a Closed-loop, in-train WiFi system. The free service is to be supplied by local start-up Sugarbox and, according to reports in the Hindu newspaper, is set to begin operations “by the end of this week”. The system is distinct from the on-station WiFi services, provided by AirTel to Chennai Metro passengers, which went into operation in November last year. Officials of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), quoted by the Hindu, claimed commuters will merely have to download the......

UK Rail Franchise System to be Scrapped - Report

(17 Feb 2020, BWCS Staff)
The UK is on track to radically overhaul the nation’s rail operations by doing away with the current system of franchising. At the same time, according to reports in The Sunday Telegraph, Boris Johnson’s administration plans to place a limit on profits that can be made by private train operators. Passenger train services in the UK are currently divided into regional franchises run by private train operating companies under seven to eight-year contracts. Most of these are awarded by the Department for Transport (with the exception of Merseyrail and ScotRail). There are currently......

New National Infrastructure Commission Report Demands Clear Plans for Progress on Mobile Connectivity Across the UK Rail Network

(06 Feb 2020, BWCS Staff)
The UK National Infrastructure Commission has produced a damming report on lack of government progress in improving mobile and hence WiFi coverage on the national rail network. The Commission claims that progress on fixing gaps in connectivity alongside train tracks has stalled since the government accepted the findings of the Commission’s 2016 Connected Future report. The new report, “Connected Future: Getting Back on Track” – published today, points to lack of leadership from government, frequent ministerial changes, and split departmental responsibilities as the......

Indian Railways to Roll Out Solar-Power Along Tracks – Next to LTE-R

(04 Feb 2020, BWCS Staff)
The national rail operator has received a significant boost in the Indian government’s recently announced 2020-2021 Railway Budget. Unveiling a new spending spree set to be lavished on the country’s rail network and trains, Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, said that her administration will introduce as many as 150 public-private train services within four years. Ms Sitharaman also revealed that the Rail Operator will receive funding to begin building a huge network of solar panels to run alongside its tracks. This, she underlined, will provide cheaper electricity to Indian......

Will Finnish 4G Really Boost On-Train WiFi Services?

(14 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
Finnish national railway company VR Group is negotiating with mobile network operators for the supply of better internet connection in trains. According to reports in the press, an improved service is expected to be offered from next month – using 4G signal along all routes. However, some commentators are sceptical about the level of change passengers should expect to see. For one thing, the coverage requirement was in the original terms of the 4G-licences, which stated that the new service must cover the state-owned tracks. Yet, the licences failed to stipulate field strengths or......

Over £9 Million Up for Grabs in Bid to Boost New Rail Technology Services

(13 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
The UK Department for Transport is inviting bids for parts of a pot of £9.4 million as it aims to encourage new technologies designed to improve rail services. The cash, which is being made available via Innovate UK, will be doled out in chunks of £100,000 - £400,000 and organisations of any size may apply.   According to Innovate UK, the competition is designed “To fund projects which demonstrate for the first time how proven technologies, such as automation or innovative uses of data, could be used on the railways. The projects must seek to demonstrate......

Early Christmas Present as Ofcom and DfT Publish Data on UK Trackside Connectivity

(09 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
Christmas has come early for the hardy band of souls with an interest in improving train to shore wireless links – Ofcom has released its findings on the state of connectivity along the UK rail corridor.  Since October 2017 the UK telecoms regulator has been collecting data related to mobile signal strengths along the length and breadth of Britain’s railways. To do this, it has employed a series of four of Network Rail’s so-called “yellow” engineering trains. Now, just in time for the Festive Period, Ofcom is releasing the data collected between June 2018......

Swiss Trains to Offer Passengers GoMedia’s On-Board Infotainment Services

(08 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
UK-based on-train infotainment provider GoMedia has announced a major tie-up with Swiss National train operator SBB. Passengers travelling with SBB will now be able to receive passenger information services (PIS) throughout their journey. Initially at least, the free service will only be available on the operator’s International fleet of trains across Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France. The roll out of services, which started last month, will also enable customers to use GoMedia’s onboard entertainment platform to access up-to-date journey information such as the live train......

BART Reveals Plan to Improve WiFi on Trains and Make Money

(08 Jan 2020, BWCS Staff)
The San Francisco based Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) says it has developed a plan to greatly improve cellular connectivity and WiFi coverage on its trains. The scheme, which will include improved links in stations and all along the agency’s public rights of way, will also, apparently, generate “substantial” revenue for the transit organisation. Later this week, the BART Board of Directors will vote on an agreement that’s been in the works for several years between the transit agency and Mobilitie, one of the largest private wireless infrastructure companies in the......
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