South West Trains expands free Wi-Fi to cover even more services from the capital to south west England
Free Wi-Fi is now available on half of all South West Trains services, meaning passengers on more than 5,400 trains each week will be able to access wireless Internet.
South West Trains, which operates suburban trains within London from Waterloo, mainline services to locations in the south and south west of the country and services on the Isle of Wight, first introduced free Wi-Fin in September 2014 on its Class 444 ‘Desiro’ fleet which run between the capital to Weymouth and Portsmouth.
Connectivity has now been added to Class 450 trains, which cover services serving stations such as Reading, Guildford, Aldershot, Farnborough and stops between Southampton and Portsmouth. The company says the Wi-Fi network will be extended further in 2016.
South West Trains Wi-Fi
“This is fantastic news for the tens of thousands of passengers who will enjoy the greater connectivity which will make it easier to work, catch up with the latest news or keep in touch with friends while travelling on one of the UK’s busiest railways,” said Christian Roth, MD of South West Trains.
“More passengers are travelling with us than ever before and now more than half a million journeys are made on our services every day. We are investing millions of pounds to provide extra carriages, improved facilities and better stations to improve journeys for passengers and we’re confident the continued expansion of our free Wi-Fi will be a further boost.”
Newcastle-based Nomad Digital, which claims three quarters of all Wi-Fi connected trains are powered by its equipment, is also supplying South West Trains.
“We are delighted to be partnering with South West Trains to deliver Wi-Fi to their customers. Passengers are increasingly using their travel time to work and get online, and we are committed to developing market-leading, innovative solutions to meet this growing demand,” said Andrew Taylor, CEO of Nomad Digital.
A number of other train operators also offer either free or paid-for Wi-Fi, but the government wants free wireless connectivity to be a condition of any future rail franchise bid, with a £50 million fund available to accelerate deployment.
It had been thought that the revenue generated from the Network Rail fines would be used to build a wireless network for a number of commuter routes into London, but it appears as though the government has now adopted a less concentrated approach.
The Scottish government has already pledged £2 million to bring free Wi-Fi to ScotRail express trains while, Leeds and Bradford authorities have used money from the Super Connected Cities programme to deploy wireless on several routes in West Yorkshire.
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