London Midland Launches WiFi and Entertainment with a Whoosh(25 Apr 2017, BWCS Staff)
UK regional train company London Midland yesterday officially launched its WiFi on board service. The operator, which runs services between Liverpool, Birmingham, Crewe and London, as well as local train routes in the West Midland area, said the new WiFi service based on 4G mobile will be offered for free to all passengers.
In addition, LM said it has begun offering passengers access to movies, TV shows, games and magazines as well as just WiFi from their seats. At the moment the entertainment facility is only available for long-distance passenger trains out of Euston. However, the company plans to add the service to local routes between Wolverhampton and Walsall and Lichfield to Redditch. Swedish/UK technology company Icomera, has been working on the WiFi installation with the on-board entertainment service offered by Whoosh Media.
According to the train operator, Whoosh’s studio-approved software allows Hollywood film and entertainment content to be delivered straight to the passenger’s web browser on their own device, as soon as they connect to the free train WiFi. This means that travellers don’t have to go through the sometimes cumbersome process of having to download a separate app in order to view popular blockbusters.
Patrick Verwer, London Midland's managing director, told the Stoke Sentinel: "Twelve months ago we pledged to install Wi-Fi on all of our long-distance trains but we have been able to do much more.” He went on, "We have made the package as user-friendly as possible and this is the first time that Hollywood studios have given the green light for on-board movies and TV shows to be streamed directly to a browser, rather than through a third-party app."
The London Midland franchise was originally due to expire in September 2015, however, this was extended to March 2016, and again to October 2017 after the company agreed to put on extra trains and improve services. In April 2016, the UK Department for Transport announced that an Abellio/East Japan Railway Company/Mitsui consortium, Govia and MTR Corporation had all been shortlisted to bid for the next franchise – MTR has since dropped out. The Invitation to Tender was issued in August 2016, with the franchise due to be awarded in June 2017.
Speaking at the launch of the service, Edmund Caldecott, managing director of Whoosh Media, said: “We’re excited to be working together with London Midland and Icomera to deliver this innovative on-board entertainment solution. Approved by both 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros, this is the first studio-approved, browser-based DRM of its kind in the world."
On-board entertainment, trackside networks and the growing market for on-train passenger WiFi services will all be fully examined at this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference hosted by BWCS. For more information on the upcoming event please see www.Traincomms2017.com or contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com .
This year's Train Communications System Conference is sponsored by Icomera (Gold), Nomad Digital (Silver), Fluidmesh (Bronze), 21Net (Cocktails), LetsJoin (Lunch Day 1) and RADWIN (Lunch Day 2).