News

ADIF Makes Light of Testing Passenger Data Services

(22 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
Spanish rail administrator ADIF has launched a trial of LiFi technology at Málaga María Zambrano station. The move is part of the infrastructure manager’s “Digital Stations” investment programme. Last year, ADIF separately also awarded contracts to telecoms companies to provide WiFi at Córdoba and Sevilla Santa Justa. LiFi is a bi-directional, wireless communications system which transmits large amounts of data using LEDs or infra-red light. Proponents of LiFi argue that it only requires a light equipped with a chip and that data transmission is typically both fast and......

Indian Railways to Launch as a Telecoms Provider in Rural Areas

(18 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
RailTel, the soon to be sold-off subsidiary of Indian Railways, has revealed plans to offer high-speed broadband and WiFi services in remote villages. The company hopes to use its vast fibre-optic network to facilitate fast connections in India’s rural hinterland. According to the company, such a move would help to greatly speed up the Prime Minister’s WiFi expansion project – aimed at boosting broadband connectivity nationwide. Demand for WiFi has ballooned since March, with millions of people logging in from their homes for work and education services amid the......

Commuter Trains in Mumbai to Get WiFi

(06 Jan 2021, BWCS Staff)
India’s Central Railway Division has started work on equipping its huge fleet of commuter trains with on-board WiFi services. The operator, one of 18 railway divisions across the sub-continent, said it is “well on the way” to adding passenger WiFi to the 165 trains which run in and around the Mumbai area. Within two months all coaches should be fitted out with the necessary routers to supply on-train Internet connectivity. It is understood that all connections will be made for free and that the contract signed by Central Railways will last for five years. One of the......

SNCF Goes with Icomera for its 203 Train Intercités Fleet

(18 Nov 2020, BWCS Staff)
French train operator SNCF is to deploy passenger WiFi in its 203 Intercity trains and night trains over the next three years. The project, which has been on the drawing board for many months, was finally given the green light this week. Icomera is scheduled to provide the equipment and installation. The French fleet of TGVs are, of course, already equipped with WiFi, however, the Intercités carriages have, until now, been largely bereft of on-train Internet services. SNCF said that the rest of its fleet will now join the trains on routes such as Paris-Clermont-Ferrand,......

GO Transit Goes for Free WiFi on Buses and Trains

(30 Sep 2020, BWCS Staff)
The government of Ontario in Canada has rolled out free passenger WiFi on all of the province’s buses and just over half of its trains. According to the government, the service, which launched this week, forms a key part of its commitment to improve public transit across the region. GO Transit is a division of Metrolinx and serves a population of around 14.6 million residents in the greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. It carries over 70 million passengers annually.   According to Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation "More than 80% of GO customers named WiFi as their......

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......
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