News


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Blu Gets Backing for Trackside Network

(18 Jun 2024, BWCS Staff)
High-speed connectivity company, Blu Wireless, has secured new investment from Maven Capital Partners to fund its growth. The financial company manages funds for the South West Investment Fund and is said to have been in talks with the Bristol-based tech company for six months. The precise figure has not been divulged, however, Maven Equity Finance is said to typically invest between £150,000 and £5 million into such companies. The deal is likely related to Blu’s mmWave wireless solution for rail tracks. This, the company says provides high bandwidth and low latency......

Northern Trials On-Board Automatic Passenger Counting System

(28 May 2024, BWCS Staff)
Northern, the second largest train operator in the UK, has begun trialling Automatic Passenger Counting software on some of its trains. The system, which utilises Artificial Intelligence, is said to be 98% accurate and has been installed on eight of Northern’s Class 769 trains. According to reports in The Rail Engineer, 88 cameras, 8 computers and 5km of cable have been put on board the trains which will run on services between Liverpool, Manchester, Southport, Wigan and Blackpool. Overall, Northern runs 2,500 trains a day and serves 500 stations. The recent upgrade was carried out......

The Berlin U-Bahn (Finally) Gets High-Speed Internet

(08 May 2024, BWCS Staff)
Long suffering Berliners can finally access LTE mobile connections across the entire U-Bahn network, the Berliner Morgenpost reported today. However, they will have to wait a little longer to get free WiFi on board the trains. Whilst WiFi and mobile signals have been available at all 175 U-Bahn stations in the German capital for some time, it has been a different story in the trains as they thunder across the 156km network of tracks, 80% of which are deep underground. Often working overnight, in short 3-hour windows, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) has laid over 1,000km of......

Amtrak Issues Two RFIs for Brand New 450 Mile Trackside Wireless Network

(03 May 2024, BWCS Staff)
US train operator Amtrak has issued two Request for Informations (RFIs) aimed at supporting the delivery of high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity along 450 miles of track between Washington, DC and Boston. The move is part of the company’s ambitious plans to advance passenger digital experience in what it refers to as a new era of rail. Amtrak says it is keen to hear from all parties interested in progressing high-speed connectivity along its North-East Corridor (NEC), with the aim of building a wireless network from the ground up. The newly announced RFIs include requests for: Companies......

Blu Wireless Wins Backing for Trackside Fibre-less Solution

(24 Apr 2024, BWCS Staff)
Bristol-based, high-speed connectivity company, Blu Wireless, has won a lead role in a government-backed project to develop new technologies for rail telecoms. The telco, which specialises in mmWave radio networking technology, says it will be project lead in the ‘High Gain mmWave for Wireless Backhaul for Transport Applications’ category in the government-backed Future Telecoms Challenge – funded by Innovate UK. Blu Wireless says its role in the project will be to try to replace the need for trackside fibre with a higher power mmWave wireless solution. This, it says,......

Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois to Offer WiFi on All Trains

(09 Apr 2024, BWCS Staff)
All trains, trams and stations in Luxembourg will have free Internet connectivity by the end of this year, the government has promised. In addition, free WiFi on all buses should be available “soon after”. The capital city’s tram network will begin testing on-board Internet service this month and the entire network should be fitted out by the end of 2024. According to local press reports, the tram WiFi roll-out will cost less than €100,000. Meanwhile, the Grand Duchy’s train network, which spans 270km of track, is set to see WiFi access on all trains. The......

NetForecast Launches System to Automatically Measure Passenger WiFi Experience on Trains

(20 Mar 2024, BWCS Staff)
NetForecast, an independent provider of internet quality monitoring for the aviation and residential broadband markets, has launched a similar product to measure passengers’ experience of on-train WiFi systems. According to the US-based company, train operating companies (TOCs) will be able to swiftly harness insight and actionable data about on-board connectivity using its new QMap Rail system. Launched this week, after months of trials and refinements, QMap Rail, can continuously monitor network performance whilst the train is moving. NetForecast’s proprietary technology......

Passengera to Provide Polish On-Train WiFi

(18 Mar 2024, BWCS Staff)
Prague-based on-train connectivity specialist, Passengera, has announced the completion of a project to put WiFi onto trains in Poland. The value of the contract with PKP Remtrak, a branch of national passenger train company PKP, was not disclosed. The Czech company said that it has equipped 60 carriages with its Passenger G7 multi-service gateway, delivering high-speed internet access for passengers and secure data synchronization for effective operations. According to Passengera, the G7 solution provides reliable, high-speed WiFi, keeping passengers connected throughout their journeys.......

An Economist’s Case for Boosting WiFi on Trains …

(08 Mar 2024, BWCS Staff)
Isn’t it refreshing when a burst of common sense spears the fug of muddle-headed thinking and wrong, ideas? Writing in the New Statesman this week, acclaimed Oxford Economist, Daniel Susskind, pours scorn on the UK government’s proposal that train operators should aim to save £5 million a year by scrapping on-board WiFi. Instead, he argues, for a fraction of the cost of the doomed HS2 project, passengers on Britian’s railways could and should be provided with fast on-board internet connections and, being the economist he is, he puts an enticingly large monetary......

Czech Railways Plans Major Train WiFi Upgrade

(29 Feb 2024, BWCS Staff)
Ceské Dráhy, the Czech national train operator, has announced a major overhaul of its on-board passenger WiFi services. The company says it will replace all routers in 195 vehicles. Ceské’s telecoms subsisiary, ČD-Telematika, will undertake the upgrades. According to the company, the new kit will use the WiFi5 standard and operate on the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. This means that the new routers will be able to operate at a maximum connection speed of up to5.5Gbps and be easily upgradeable to WiFi6. Ceské Dráhy currently offers free WiFi on board its Super-City and Intercity......

DB Makes Progress With 5G Along Tracks…

(27 Feb 2024, BWCS Staff)
German national train operator, Deutsche Bahn, has launched its Gigabit Innovation Track (GINT) research project aimed at establishing 5G corridors along its rail network. The company, in conjunction with Telefónica , Ericsson and mast owner Vantage Towers, says the project will herald a new era of high-speed internet connectivity for train passengers in Germany. Back in June 2023, the Federal Ministry of Digital and Transport (the BMDV) announced it would provide funding to the tune of euros 6.4 million to test “relevant technologies along the tracks”. Since then, the project......

Major New Poll Shows Passenger Attitudes to On-Train WiFi …

(29 Jan 2024, BWCS Staff)
Half of all train commuters in the UK, surveyed in January 2024, now believe that WiFi is essential for their journeys. The figures come from a comprehensive piece of research conducted by Uswitch.com, which interviewed over 2,000 regular rail users. Importantly, the findings seem to fly in the face of recent UK government arguments that train travellers rate WiFi low on their travel wish-lists. According to Uswitch, 41%of British commuters say they “rely on on-board WiFi” during their commutes, with nearly a third of all travellers using the service for work purposes.......

Mexican Capital Delivers Shot in the Arm to Passenger WiFi

(25 Jan 2024, BWCS Staff)
The Mexico City Government has given a major boost to WiFi on its local public transport network. Marty Batres, the head of the city administration, has announced plans to add public access hotspots on 775 trolleybuses, light rail units and in major urban transport hubs. In particular, 31 CETRAM - modal transfer centres where passengers swarm from the Metro onto buses, trolleybuses and light rail services - will be upgraded with new WiFi connections. The council pointed out that there are already 197 access points in these cross-over terminals. A further 5 CETRAMs will be targeted for free......

Station WiFi Starts to Move …

(22 Jan 2024, BWCS Staff)
The non-mobile counterpoint to on-train WiFi, Station WiFi, appears to be making quite an impact in at least two major rail markets. In the UK, nearly half-a million travellers every month are reportedly logging on to the Telent-managed WiFi services at the country’s busiest mainline stations. Meanwhile, in India, RailTel, the privatised off-shoot of Indian Railways, has launched a scheme to monetise the WiFi connections at over 6,190 railways stations across the subcontinent. In Britain, Telent recently completed an extensive programme to design and install WiFi networks at 19......

Underground Connections - Berlin U-Bahn Moves Closer On-Train WiFi

(15 Jan 2024, BWCS Staff)
The saga of getting WiFi onto trains on the Berlin U-Bahn turned a new page this week as Stadler delivered its first test vehicle to network operator Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG). The move is particularly significant for Berlin commuters, as the new generation of yellow carriages will come fitted out with WiFi connectivity. It was back in March 2020 that, following a legal dispute, Stadler, was officially awarded the €3 billion long-term contract to supply 1,500 metro cars to BVG. The new vehicles come with passenger information screens, more space and, importantly for frustrated......

RailRunner Shoots for the Stars in WiFi Upgrade

(06 Dec 2023, BWCS Staff)
The New Mexico RailRunner has become the latest train service to switch to satellite-delivered connections for its passenger Internet service. WiFi has been available on board since 2010, but now the Rio Metro Regional Transit District, which operates the service, says it is time for an upgrade. Ten RailRunner trains a day cover the 100-mile route from Belen to Santa Fe, stopping at 13 stations along the way. Previously, passenger Internet requirements on board were met by a 22 base-station, WiMax system, installed by AzulStar and provided by Alvarion. However, commuter complaints about......

CGI Heads Trial of Seamless Hybrid/Cellular Delivery of Improved Connectivity to Trains

(30 Oct 2023, BWCS Staff)
IT consulting giant CGI is currently running live trials in the UK aimed at improving WiFi and mobile connectivity to trains. The pilot project uses a combination of low-earth orbit satellite and terrestrial cellular networks to overcome coverage gaps. CGI is working with Eutelsat OneWeb, part of the Eutelsat Group and Icomera. Together, the partners hope to show how constellations of communication satellites can seamlessly fill in gaps in terrestrial coverage of Britain’s rail network and provide additional capacity in a cost-effective way. The emergence of Low Earth Orbit......

Two More Operators to Speak at Traincomms 2023

(30 Oct 2023, BWCS Staff)
Trenitalia and Lithuanian Railways (with a report on its Starlink satellite-delivered on-train WiFi service), are the latest train operators to sign up to speak at this year’s WiFi on Trains Conference - Traincomms 2023 (November 14th and 15th in London). The pair will join fellow operators from around the world discussing their progress and problems in delivering WiFi on board. Other train companies speaking include – Amtrak, Network Rail, SNCF, Deutsche Bahn, CCJPA, SJ Trains, Transport for London, Eurostar, Turkish Railways, Thalys, OBB, TGV Lyria and many others … As......

Icomera Launches WiFi-7 On-Train Access Points

(22 Sep 2023, BWCS Staff)
Swedish-UK Passenger connectivity supplier, Icomera, is set to launch a brand new, rail grade access point capable of supporting WiFi-7. In what the Equans-owned company claims is a world-first, the new A2, hardware will be able to support what it calls “the latest and most advanced generation of wireless technology.” According to a press statement from Icomera, it expects demand for connectivity to trains to increase greatly in the coming years. This, it says, will be based on the utilisation of ever better communications networks (cellular, trackside, satellite etc.),......

New WiFi Supplier for Indian Railways' Eastern Division

(11 Sep 2023, BWCS Staff)
Indian IT and Digital Media company, Cressanda Solutions, has signed a deal with Eastern Railways Division of Indian Railways to provide on-board WiFi, IT solutions and digital media and advertising services to more than 500 trains. The contract is valid for five years. However, the value of the agreement has not been revealed. According to local press reports, Cressanda has won the rights to advertise on the interior and exterior surfaces of over 500 Mail, Express, Premium, Inter-city and Local trains. Eastern Railways covers some 2,848km of track and operates services covering Howrah,......

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