Rail passengers may soon be able to access BBC iPlayer and conduct business via the internet after the government announced plans to introduce a free Wi-Fi service on trains in England and Wales from 2017.
The Department for Transport will invest almost £50 million tocover more than 500 million journeys and is already in talks withtrain operators Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales, Great Northern,Southeastern, Southern and Thameslink.
Prime Minister David Cameron said that free Wi-Fi access was"vital for businesses and for individuals" and would allowpassengers to "do their work and all other contact while they areon trains."
The rail minister Claire Perry stated: "This investment, coupledwith major works such as the Thameslink programme, new IntercityExpress trains and the Northern Hub, will ensure that passengerswill soon have a railway fit for the 21st century."
While it may take up to two years for every service to be up andrunning, some operators are aiming to install equipment in the nearfuture. The government said the investment would target franchisesthat do not currently have Wi-Fi and that had no plans to introduceit before the announcement was made.
The Department for Transport will now begin identifying theservices and routes that would benefit the most from free Wi-Ficoverage. It will work with operators during the process, who willhave to make proposals for the funding.
Perry added: "We are investing record amounts in the railnetwork as part of our long-term economic plan. Free Wi-Fi is apriority for many as being able to keep up with work, connect withfriends or even check the latest journey information online helpsmake rail travel more productive."
Source: The Telegraph
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