News

Nomad Goes Underground – in Canada

(20 Apr 2018, BWCS Staff)
UK-based on-Train WiFi company Nomad Digital has won a major contract to supply wireless internet kit to a Canadian Metro operator. The deal comes on the back of Nomad’s parent company, Alstom, signing a landmark deal with the Canadian capital’s transport agency. According to Nomad, it will provide the kit to enable passengers to access the internet via mobile phones, tablets and laptop devices while travelling underground.   Historically, providing WiFi services on urban underground train systems has been fraught with difficulty – largely due to the wireless ......

Rival Tech Giants Prepare Bids of US$500 million for On-Train WiFi in China

(18 Apr 2018, BWCS Staff)
The gloves are well and truly off in the battle for supremacy in the World’s largest market for WiFi on trains. According to reports in Forbes Magazine, tech giant Tencent is preparing to pay a staggering US$500 million to buy 49% of EMU Network Technology Co – which currently has a monopoly on offering WiFi on board all China Rail Corp trains. However, it is likely to face competition from fellow Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, also said to be eyeing a bid for the China Rail network company. The huge fee reflects the sizeable potential that Tencent, which is also ......

App, App and Away … for Indian Railways

(03 Apr 2018, BWCS Staff)
Indian Railways is reportedly taking a leap down the digital track by developing over 200 mobile phone applications aimed at tourists, travellers and staff. The giant train operator says it is helping to move the government’s Digital India Programme forward by preparing so many new mobile services.   However, the company has faced criticism from some quarters for complicating the issue and not launching a single app aimed at all users. Defenders of the new programme argue that by launching a wide range of applications it can sieve out those that work well and are popular ......

French Giant Snaps up 21net

(07 Mar 2018, BWCS Staff)
Alstom is to buy 21net - one of the first companies to venture into the WiFi on trains space. According to a short company announcement, the French transport giant has signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of 21net from the Innovacom fund and other investors. 21net, which boasted a turnover of around €16 million in 2017 supplies on-board connectivity solutions based on multiple technologies such as satellite, cellular and high-speed wireless from trackside antennas. It is headquartered in the UK and has subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Italy and India. The pioneering ......

Tickets for WiFi on Trains Conference – Selling Like Hot-cakes as Europe Freezes

(01 Mar 2018, BWCS Staff)
As a subscriber to our WiFi on Trains News-list, I just wanted to let you know that we have all the speakers lined up for this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2018 (London, June 6th and 7th). The full programme is now online and available to downloaded at www.Traincomms2018.com As ever, we have focused on getting train operators, from all over the world to share their real-life stories of putting WiFi onto their trains, fighting to keep the customers happy and struggling to add new services and increase bandwidth. The main European and UK train ......

Virgin Reveals West Coast WiFi Refit Plans

(26 Feb 2018, BWCS Staff)
Virgin Trains says it plans to spend £7.5 million refitting its West Coast fleet in order to offer “improved” on-board WiFi. The investment will see new wireless kit installed on each of its 56 of the company’s West Coast mainline Pendolinos. This, Virgin, says will allow it to eventually offer all of its passengers access to on-train WiFi. The new money is part of a deal with the UK government which will see Virgin continue to run the franchise until March 2019, with the possibility of a further extension after that, before the franchise goes to tender again. The ......

Arriva Train Wales Launches WiFi on Remaining Trains

(15 Feb 2018, BWCS Staff)
Welsh train operator, Arriva Train Wales, has fulfilled a promise to its passengers and completed the launch of WiFi on all of its trains. Phase One of its roll-out began in 2016, partly funded by a £2.5 million injection from the Department for Transport. The initial project saw passenger internet facilities installed on 87 of the company’s trains that crisscross the region. Now the company has added WiFi to the remaining services. Following Westminster’s funding of the initial stages, the Welsh Government put its hand into its pocket and found a further £1.5 million ......

Capturing Commuter Commerce – Online on Train Lines

(13 Feb 2018, BWCS Staff)
The spending power of the UK’s growing band of train commuters has been highlighted by some new research from KBH Media. The London-based, on-board advertising specialists found that 88% of train passengers use their smart-phones at least once during an average journey – with a third of all riders checking their device “every couple of minutes”.  This modern phenomena, coupled with the increasingly improved WiFi on trains and the number of retailers investing in properly mobile-optimised sites and apps, has led to a boom in ‘commuter commerce’, KBH ......

Passengers Satisfied with “Ghost” Train WiFi Service

(02 Feb 2018, BWCS Staff)
Around one fifth of passengers on Southeastern trains say they are happy with the WiFi service available on-board. However, this figure must come as a pleasant surprise to the operator, as it has yet to introduce WiFi on any of its 350 trains that run on 1,000 miles of track in Kent, London and Sussex.   As the Kent Online website points out, 18% of Southeastern passengers who took part in a national poll said they were “satisfied” with WiFi on-board service – despite the fact that it doesn’t exist yet. In fact, this figure is not that far below the national ......

Train Operators from Around the World to Discuss Future Path of On-Train WiFi at June Conference

(29 Jan 2018, BWCS Staff)
BWCS is delighted to announce a roster of major speakers for this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference – Train Communications Systems 2018 (London, 6th and 7th of June). A host of train operating companies, rail administrators and suppliers will convene at a five star London Hotel this summer over two days to debate how best to address passengers’ insatiable demand for fast and reliable on-board WiFi connections. “On-Train passenger WiFi service is now a must-have for almost all operators” argues Graham Wilde CEO of BWCS, “the problem is, any company failing ......

India Uses Railways to Spread WiFi Connections

(11 Jan 2018, BWCS Staff)
The Indian government has confirmed plans to install WiFi at almost 8,500 stations across the country’s sprawling rail network. The move comes as part of the Digital India project and will see many rural and remote communities hooked up with free Internet access for the first time. In total, the project is set to cost some Rs700 crore (US$110 million). So far, RailTel and Indian Railways have equipped some 216 stations with WiFi facilities serving some seven million log-ons daily. However, these are almost exclusively in major towns and cities. The Railways Ministry said this week ......

Major On-Train WiFi Conference set for 2018

(03 Jan 2018, BWCS Staff)
The battle to put “customer-acceptable” WiFi on trains is heating up. Trackside trials are popping up across the world and significant sums are set to be poured into this niche market. Once again, BWCS will gather all the main players involved in this fast moving sector in one place over two days to discuss the future at our annual WiFi on Trains Conference (London, 6th and 7th of June).  “The WiFi on Trains sector is fast approaching a major junction” argues Graham Wilde CEO of BWCS, “and we are delighted to have so many of the leading players and train ......

UK Government Calls for Evidence on How Best to Deliver Trackside WiFi

(02 Jan 2018, BWCS Staff)
The UK Government has launched a call for evidence on how to improve WiFi signals along rail routes (https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/commercial-options-for-delivering-mobile-connectivity-on-trains-call-for-evidence ). The move comes as part of an ambitious plan that, it claims, could see passengers benefitting from a dramatic improvement in on-board mobile and WiFi connections. The move is being pushed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Department for Transport, and is being driven by "Digital Minister" Matt Hancock and Chris Grayling the Transport ......

Samsung and KDDI Trial 5G Services on a Moving Train in Japan

(05 Dec 2017, BWCS Staff)
Korean tech giant Samsung, keen to show its progress in mobile technology, has revealed it recently completed a successful trial of 5G technology on board a moving train. The supplier said the test was carried out in October on a Japanese high-speed train travelling at 100kmh and registered a peak mobile data download speed of 1.7Gbps. Using a 5G router, 5G radio access unit, virtualised RAN (vRAN) and a virtualised core to make up its pre-commercial 5G solution, Samsung reported that engineers on the train were able to download 8K video services and upload 4K video. Japanese carrier KDDI ......

4G, If Not WiFi, Set To Debut in London Underground Tunnels … by 2019

(28 Nov 2017, BWCS Staff)
Passengers on London Underground Trains will finally get 4G coverage across the entire network from 2019. However, the announcement from Transport for London did not make it clear whether the move will include provisions for putting WiFi into the Tube. TfL passengers can already access WiFi for free at stations. London currently lags behind other major cities such as New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Berlin and Tokyo, which all boast wirelessly connected Metro services beneath their streets. This week TfL announced “significant progress” had been made in delivering a 4G mobile network ......

New Trackside WiFi to Shine on Gold Coast

(09 Nov 2017, BWCS Staff)
The Gold Coast City Council in Australia has contrived what could mark a new twist in the tale of how best to deliver WiFi along train tracks. The innovative idea developed by the council involves a super-fast broadband network laid alongside the newly built light rail routes. The council plans to use this to boost broadband and WiFi access for its citizens – as well as passengers. According to reports in the Gold Coast Bulletin, the council has built its own fibre network along the length of the 13km light rail route, capable of delivering internet speeds up to ten times faster than ......
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