Virgin Trains And St Pancras Boost UK Rail Wi-Fi Network

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Passengers travelling on Virgin Trains will soon benefit from superfast Wi-Fi, while St Pancras will offer services to Eurostar passengers

Rail passengers are set to benefit from even more Wi-Fi with Virgin Trains set to offer free superfast Wi-Fi while St Pancras International, the London terminus for Eurostar services, is to have its fibre infrastructure upgraded to 1Gbps.

Virgin Trains was recently awarded a franchise extension to is current agreement to operate the West Coast Main Line by the government, and is to introduce Wi-Fi as part of a number of measures that it says will benefit both passengers and the tax payer.

Wi-Fi equipment will be installed in all 76 of its Pendolino and Super Voyager trains and the service will be supported by 4G trackside infrastructure constructed by Network Rail. Wi-Fi will be free to all passengers.

Virgin Trains Wi-Fi

St Pancras International train station“We know Wi-Fi is high on our customers’ priorities and we’re delighted that we’re going to be able to offer them free and super-fast Wi-Fi,” says Patrick McCall, Virgin Trains executive co-chairman. “Together with thousands of extra seats and plans for new services, this deal will mean big improvements for millions of Virgin Trains passengers.”

Passengers waiting for Eurostar and other national services at St Pancras International are also in line for a service boost after High Speed 1, which operates the line of the same name, revealed it plans to upgrade its fibre infrastructure to 1Gbps so it can offer faster Wi-Fi.

The firm claims the network upgrades will allow up to 7,000 users to stream an HD film at any one time and promises that other stations on the line – Ebbsfleet International, Stratford International and Ashford International will receive similar improvements. Users will receive 20 minutes of free wireless access if they agree to watch a 20 second advertisement.

This will be a boost for Eurostar passengers who are now able to access 4G services in the Channel Tunnel, with EE and Vodafone both promising that the quality of the signal will be the same as if they were in London or Paris.

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