Published: 2nd Oct 2013
The government has revealed plans to improve the standard of broadband services available on trains.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced the scheme, which will be implemented by Network Rail and involves boosting connection speeds for 70 per cent of passengers by 2019. Benefits of the scheme are expected to be felt in some areas as early as 2015.
Mr McLoughlin said: "There are few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal.
"Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality."
A spokesperson for Network Rail claimed the industry recognises the current standard of connectivity on trans is insufficient and needs to be improved. They added that if people are to be expected to continue to travel by train, this issue needs to be addressed.
However, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com Ernest Doku told the Metro the improved service will need to be competitively priced if passengers are to be able to pay for it alongside fast-growing train fares.
The government may hope the announcement of this project deflects some attention away from the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) recent attack on its programme to improve home broadband connections across the country.
Its scheme was heavily criticised by the MPs comprising the PAC, who questioned the effectiveness, competitiveness and value for money of the project.
The new scheme regarding internet access on trains is not the first association between the rail and broadband industries, as it is has been suggested the coalition should scrap its High Speed 2 programme and use the funding to improve web connections across the UK instead.
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