News

German Train Operator Invests Heavily in WiFi on Train Services

(28 Sep 2020, BWCS Staff)
Deutsche Bahn has officially become the highest spending European train operator when it comes to passenger WiFi services. Having invested over 200 million euros on expanding its technical WiFi infrastructure at stations, on trains and buses in recent years, it plans to pour another euros 44 million into growing the service even further over the coming months. In addition, the Federal Government is assisting it by demanding that Germany’s mobile network operators greatly increase their coverage of the nation’s rail network. Currently Deutsche Bahn’s WIFI@DB service is......

Deutsche Bahn Introduces “Seamless” Free WiFi at 100 Train stations

(25 Sep 2020, BWCS Staff)
German train operator Deutsche Bahn is pushing ahead full steam with plans to improve passenger WiFi connections. From this week, free WiFi will be available at over 100 stations across the country. It marks another step in the company’s efforts to improve digital connectivity for all of its travellers. Free WiFi at stations means that passengers will no, longer be forced to used paid-for services at major hubs including Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Hamburg as well as smaller stations like Trier, Straubing and Sylt. Free internet access has been available to passengers on DB’s......

WiFi Plan for New Merseyrail Fleet Given Green Light After Council Delay

(24 Sep 2020, BWCS Staff)
Planning proposals vital to the construction of new masts and hence the delivery of WiFi on the new Merseyrail fleet, have been voted through after a three month delay. The pause highlighted the dependency on local planning regulations trackside networks can face. In June, the planning committee of Wirral Council voted to delay any decision on the build out of five new masts on railway land between Bidston and New Brighton. At the time, the Council cited concerns amongst residents who felt they were not properly consulted by the applicant, Merseytravel. However, yesterday, the plans were......

New Mobile Coverage for New York City Subway

(04 Sep 2020, BWCS Staff)
Another significant chunk of the New York City Subway system has now got cellular coverage. Yesterday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City and NY-based company Transit Wireless announced that a full cellular and data service would now be available to AT&T customers travelling on the L Line under the City’s East River. According to the Governor’s Office “The L Line will be the first under-river tunnel to benefit from full cellular connectivity.” Officials were quick to point out that thanks to the terms of the deal with Transit Wireless and......

Avanti Bring Passengers Food via WiFi

(03 Sep 2020, BWCS Staff)
This is what WiFi on trains was invented for! UK train operator Avanti West Coast has announced a new service enabling passengers to order food and drink to be delivered to their seat using the on-board WiFi system (for ordering not delivering). However, the announcement came with a caveat that the system is only up and running on some trains. Travellers on those where the service is not yet launched still face a long walk and possible buffet car queue. So far, the train operator which runs services from London to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham has been running......

New Drone Fleet to Boost Rural and Rail Connectivity

(04 Aug 2020, BWCS Staff)
Following some successful trials, UK-based wholesale connection provider Openreach, is to train a new squadron of drone pilots to deploy fibre to particularly difficult locations such as railway lines. Currently, the company has a handful engineers certified by the Civil Aviation Authority to fly drones commercially. However, it now plans to boost this number significantly. Openreach said it will use a revamped site near BT’s sprawling Ad Astral technology park, in part, as a new Drone Training Area. The Park, near Matlesham in East Anglia, is home to a fast-growing cluster of over......

“New” Spectrum to be Targeted at Better Track-to-Train Connections

(28 Jul 2020, BWCS Staff)
UK telecoms regulator Ofcom looks set to make the 39GHz spectrum band available as a way to provide consistent “track-to-train connectivity. According to reports, the regulator has updated its advice to the government adding the new band as a possible option to support on-board, ultrafast broadband capable WiFi access points or mobile (4G, 5G) small cells for commuters. The Government in the UK has long been promising to make “uninterrupted” WiFi and 4G/5G mobile connections to trains a reality. In 2017, it pledged that broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps would be available......

Three-Quarters of Train Users Want Improved Connectivity - Report

(27 Jul 2020, BWCS Staff)
A new report published Friday by UK passenger pressure group Transport Focus claims that up to 75% of train travellers believe “it is important to improve the connection available on trains”. (Something BWCS, and, indeed, the majority of train travellers, have been saying for years – but good to have a number on it.) The report, titled “Keeping Connected: Passengers’ Experience of Internet Connectivity on Great Britain’s Railways” is based on research carried out by Transport Focus (TF) and the consultancy umlaut on behalf of the Department of......

“Electrifying” Boost to Trackside Connectivity in the UK

(24 Jul 2020, BWCS Staff)
The UK government has today announced a £200,000 investment in research to help boost mobile connectivity for rail passengers. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said that the money will help to develop an “innovative prototype” that will improve mobile connectivity for thousands of rail passengers. The plan is to use overhead line equipment to help boost cellular coverage. According to the government this could put paid to so-called “not-spots” of coverage along the tracks and at the same time “boost productivity” on trains. With over a......

Latest Public Transport WiFi Usage Figures Track Industry’s COVID-19 Recovery

(20 Jul 2020, BWCS Staff)
Swedish/UK on-board WiFi supplier, Icomera, has released its latest Passenger WiFi usage figures from over 30,000 trains, trams, buses, and coaches across Europe and North America. Intriguingly, the latest data-set also tracks public transport’s rate of recovery as COVID-19 restrictions are eased. Naturally, Icomera’s results show that all regions saw a dramatic drop-off in weekly Passenger WiFi usage through March – compared to levels in the same period the year before. While all regions have clearly felt the impact, the session-volume data illustrates that some areas......

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......
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