Millions on offer from
fund to give rail users access to faster wi-fi

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Cities in Yorkshire are set to benefit from a fund worth tens of millions of pounds to speed up internet access on commuter trains across England and Wales.

Leeds and Sheffield are among those likely to benefit from the move to allow passengers to connect to wi-fi which is at least 10 times faster than facilities currently available.

Access to the new services is expected to be free.

Commuters on routes into London from Bedford, Brighton, Kent and Portsmouth as well as services into Manchester, will also benefit.

Trains across the country will be fitted out with new wi-fi equipment and it is thought the speedier connections should be 
available within three or four years.

Part of the cost of funding the upgrade is expected to be drawn from a multimillion-pound penalty imposed on Network Rail for missing punctuality targets, which will be announced tomorrow.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We all know how frustrating it can be to have our phone calls and internet use constantly disrupted by poor signal while travelling on trains.

“At the moment it happens too often. Passengers expect and deserve better and with these plans, that is what they’ll get.”

Minister Baroness Kramer said: “’The coalition Government is working hard to build a stronger economy and fairer society.

“Today’s announcement that we are providing free wi-fi on trains means people can more easily work and keep up with friends while on journeys.

“We hope free wi-fi will encourage even more people to make the greener choice and travel by train.”