East Coast rail wi-fi to get £2m upgrade

An east coast train
An east coast train
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WI-FI services on the East Coast main line are set to be upgraded in a £2.2m project.

Operator East Coast claims the improvements to on-train wireless internet will deliver a faster and more reliable “click and go” connection.

The first two trains to be upgraded are now in service, and more will receive the new equipment soon – with three trains upgraded each week until the whole East Coast fleet is completed by the summer.

Bosses say the programme to install “industry-leading hardware” on each of its 44 trains will give passengers a more reliable internet connection.

The East Coast route was the first in the UK to offer wi-fi on a moving train 10 years ago in 2003 when trials began using what was then groundbreaking technology.

On-train systems have been progressively improved since, but the extension of fibre optic broadband to millions of homes and the surging popularity of smartphones and tablet computers have raised customers’ expectations from on-train wireless internet.

East Coast commercial and customer service director Peter Williams, said: “Our customers tell us that a reliable wi-fi connection during the journey is one of the key reasons why they choose the train instead of driving or flying.

“Demand from passengers has been rising rapidly, partly because of the huge rise in the number of wi-fi capable devices owned by our customers, including smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

“Our system has to keep pace with this demand, and the investment we are making now is upgrading the consistency of the service, by replacing on-train servers, access points and switching equipment which together deliver wi-fi in every carriage.

“We want our passengers to feel at home whenever they travel with us.

“A key part of that is staying connected throughout the journey – that’s why we’re installing new equipment now to deliver a more reliable and faster connection in years to come.”

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