Transport Scotland invests £863,000 to bring Wi-Fi to 26 more stations on the Scottish railway network
Transport Scotland wants to boost Internet access on the country’s rail network in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Ryder Cup golf competition at Gleneagles, by doubling the number of stations that can receive Wi-Fi and ensuring trains carrying spectators are also connected.
Wi-Fi is already available at 26 stations in Scotland, but Transport Scotland has pledged an additional £863,000 to double this number, with work expected to start in the spring and be completed before the next ScotRail franchise starts in 2015.
The initial Wi-Fi roll-out was limited to the country’s busiest stations, but this second phase will see access extended to rural areas such as Aviemore, Oban and Wick as well as tourist destinations such as Troon and Balloch.
Commonwealth Games Wi-Fi
The Scottish government has set aside £2 million for free Wi-Fi on ScotRail express trains, and it promises that all trains carrying spectators to the games will be able to access the Internet en-route, as will passengers to Gleneagles.
By the end of the roll-out, the Scottish government says all major cities will have a Wi-Fi enabled station and claims that so far, the introduction of wireless Internet on express trains has been a success, with 250,000 passengers using the service.
Scottish rail Internet
“Over the past year and a half, we’ve implemented an intensive programme towards fitting out the whole of the Scottish rail network – trains and stations – with Wi-Fi enabled equipment,” says Scottish transport minister Keith Brown. “While it is great that Wi-Fi brings benefits for events like the Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup, it is equally important we have a rail network that is fit for the future as we move towards the next franchise.
“Scotland’s business community has made it clear that Wi-Fi access on commuter routes would boost competitiveness in Scotland and we are already well on the way to ensuring online access on all of our busiest commuter routes.
“We are working towards bringing the internet to every corner of Scotland, including ensuring people can get online even when they’re on the move and seeing that passengers on rural routes are not left out.”
Last month it was announced that Glasgow City Council had agreed a deal with BT to build a Wi-Fi network in time for the Commonwealth Games this summer, with access completely free for the first six months.