A report into the European Market for Train Based Wireless Broadband Services highlights the progress of WiFi availability on trains across Europe. The surprise to many in the UK will be the news that Britain Leads Europe in this area.
The UK apparently has over 2,000 carriages where WiFi service is available, compared to 911 in Germany, 995 in Italy and just 416 in France. Across the whole of Europe around half the carriages were providing free broadband.
As part of a Digital Europe ensuring business people and just everyday travelers can stay in touch and do things like research their destination while traveling WiFi access is very important. The EU has pushed down the cost of roaming too, but it is still very much the case that finding a free WiFi hotspot, or buying 24 hours access beats most 3G coverage. One big advantage of WiFi for international travelers is that the majority of the channels used are available worldwide, unlike 4G which varies from country to country and operator to operator.
The question now is how long before the many short and long railway tunnels across the UK and EU gain WiFi access. The technology exists, just the desire and budget to install it can be lacking.