WiFi Usage Soars on Dutch Trains(12 Mar 2012, BWCS Staff)
So, the results from the Dutch jury appear to be in. After more than a year of spreading free WiFi services across their fleet of intercity trains, Nederlandse Spoorwegen has reported huge growth in the take up of the on-board service. With only 137 trains out of its total intercity flotilla equipped to offer free WiFi, the number of individual on-board internet sessions had soared to 663,000 a month by December 2011. This compares to only 140,000 a month in January 2011.
Overall the train company points out that this is a growth of some 450% in passenger usage. However, this is mainly down to the operator’s programme of adding ten new trains a month to its WiFi-ready fleet. NS says it wants all 365 intercity trains to be fitted with WiFi by the end of 2013.
While the number of sessions has certainly increased, the train company reports that the duration of each session has remained stable at an average of 40 minutes with an average 9 MBs worth of downloaded data.
The WiFi service on intercity trains is currently being provided by T-Mobile and Nomad Digital and for the moment it remains free of charge. NS says it has no plans to introduce fees for the service – for the time being – and certainly not before the end of this year. After that, the train company says it has not yet decided what will happen to the service.
In late 2010 Arriva Trains in the Netherlands also launched an on-board WiFi service for its passengers. The service is free to all on some of Arriva’s trains.
All new Train WiFi services will be discussed at this summer’s WiFi on trains conference – Train Communication Systems 2012, where BWCS will once again host train companies from around the world. The conference will look at WiFi services on trains, on-board entertainment services and also at how train companies are increasingly using the train to shore broadband connection to establish cost-saving services worth many millions of pounds. For further information about June’s conference please go to www.TrainComms2012.com or e-mail Eileen.Fisher@BWCS.com to reserve your place.