Broadband News

New wi-fi and mobile plan for rail routes could lead to Gigabit trains

Anyone who travels on a particular train route regularly will know all about the not-spots for both mobile broadband and phone signal, which range from just being too far from a mast, travelling through a tunnel or just too many people on the train for a local mast to cope with the workload.

The Government it appears has noticed the problem and is launching a plan that is described as future proofing connectivity for trains and to pave the way for a 5G roll-out. Headline speeds of Gigabit (Gbps) being available for each train are something that the plan hopes could be delivered but when you consider commuter trains often have seating for 400 to 500 passengers and the crowded routes may be carrying 150-300 extra passengers, a Gigabit does not look that massive.

The plan is following a similar path to the original BDUK projects of a pilot project to allow evidence gathering (additionally there is a call for evidence document running) and see how existing trackside infrastructure can be exploited. The pilot project is the Trans Pennine route between York and Manchester and will run in partnership with Network Rail and is part of the £31 billion National Productivity Investment Fund.

We are investing record levels and delivering the biggest rail improvement plan since Victorian times to improve services for passengers - providing faster, better and more comfortable trains with extra seats.

Improved mobile connectivity will help passengers to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online while on the move, as we continue to build and develop a railway fit for the twenty-first century.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

The ambition is that we could see all the mainline routes with dramatically improved connectivity by 2025. There are additional details in the release footnotes indicating that the project could be delivered using existing fibre available on some routes, new dedicated base stations linking to the train via a radio link and systems for distributing that between carriages forming the train, highlighting that this is more than just erecting a new 4G or 5G base station every couple of kilometres next to the track.


This is yet another "what we might do by the end of the next 8 years by which time we'll have moved on to the next promise"

Here in the North East we were promised some speedy action for "shovel ready" projects for dualling the A1 between Newcastle and the Scottish Border. Messrs Cameron and Osborne made these vows, so you can work out how much time has passed. Not a spade has been lifted in the intervening years

Like bringing broadband to everybody in the final 5% we get endless promises but little else

Our railway fit for the 21st century won't arrive much before the 22nd!

  • 961a
  • about 1 year ago

It's the thought that counts. That's what they say about Christmas presents isn't it?

  • mervl
  • about 1 year ago

Wish they'd said that about HS2!!!!

  • 961a
  • about 1 year ago

Lets just get them on time first lol

  • 2doorsbob
  • about 1 year ago

Just spend the £31 Billion on a couple of factories and make a shit load of free fibre cable that MUST be used to connect up people under 30 mbs.

  • darren_mccoy
  • about 1 year ago

The majority of the cost with rolling out full fibre is NOT the cost of the fibre itself, but the time it takes (i.e. cost of labour) to roll it out.

Or put another way those that stand to get rich from a massive full fibre roll-out are not the telecoms operators but the civils companies who will be looking at a nice busy order book.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • about 1 year ago

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