News


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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,......

Another Operator Chooses Starlink for WiFi on Train Connectivity…

(31 Aug 2023, BWCS Staff)
Despite being embroiled in a war of survival with its neighbour, Ukraine has managed to find the time and money to kit out its trains with on-board Internet access. National train operator Ukrainian Railways (UZ) says it has signed local telecom supplier Winncom to install connectivity equipment on its fleet of Intercity trains. According to press reports, the deal will cost some 78.9 million Hryvnia (US$2.14 million). While Winncom will handle the supply, installation, and commissioning of the on-train WiFi system, the actual connectivity will be provided by satellite operator Starlink.......

US Train Operator Signs Nomad and Evo-Rail for Trackside 5G

(18 Jul 2023, BWCS Staff)
UK-based rail tech company evo-rail has been signed up to provide its rail-5G solution to the Caltrain network. The project, on the US West Coast, will see evo-rail partner with Nomad Digital and Alstom, to install a high-speed, high-capacity wireless network alongside the newly electrified line between San José and San Francisco in Northern California. Simon Holmes, CEO of evo-rail, said: "We're excited to bring our rail-5G solution to Caltrain. This cutting-edge technology will help Caltrain to deliver a safer, more reliable, and efficient rail transportation system for its customers and......

SNCF Signs Major Multi-Year Internet On-Board Deal with Nomad Digital

(07 Jul 2023, BWCS Staff)
UK-based transport connectivity specialist Nomad Digital, reports that it has been signed by SNCF Voyageurs to upgrade the on-board WiFi service. The deal, which Nomad says is a four-year base frame contract, contains an option for a three-year extension, and will see the Newcastle-based company install its Internet On-Board 5G solution on the French company’s high-speed trains (TGV INOUI). Nomad signed the deal following a comprehensive Public Tender exercise which lasted nine months. The terms call for the upgrading of up to 355 TGV INOUI high-speed trains across France. It also......

DB to Trial Trackside 5G in Major New Project

(15 Jun 2023, BWCS Staff)
In an important development for the niche world of Train Communications Systems, Deutsche Bahn has secured government funding to trial trackside 5G connectivity. The German Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) is to pump €6.4 million into a scheme that will examine how best to achieve reliable 5G on trains by next year. The newly-launched Gigabit Innovation Track (GINT) project will involve mobile kit giant Ericsson, operator O2 Telefónica, and base station company Vantage Towers. Together with Deutsche Bahn, the partners will attempt to provide gigabit, 5G speeds to train......

UK Government Questions Value of On-Board WiFi Services -Sparks Backlash

(23 May 2023, BWCS Staff)
The UK Department for Transport appears to have thrown down the gauntlet to train companies to prove that on-board WiFi is worth having. The move comes amid a government review of costs as it looks to “reform all aspects of the railway”. However, leading industry experts have rebuffed the idea arguing that WiFi on trains is now seen as a fundamental service “as important as toilets” and must be maintained to help persuade passengers back on board. Almost all UK train operators provide free on-board WiFi as standard, but, according to Christian Wolmar’s......

US Train Operator Plucks Starlink out of the Sky for WiFi on Board Services

(10 May 2023, BWCS Staff)
New Florida intercity train company, Brightline, is to use satellite delivered broadband to connect its entire fleet. The company, which runs services up and down the Sunshine State, will join unlikely bed-fellows Ukraine Railways and Lithuanian Railways in signing up to use SpaceX’s Starlink satellite service to supply WiFi on board. Brightline has confirmed that Starlink’s internet connectivity is currently available on its fleet of five trains running between Miami and West Palm Beach. It also says the service will be added to the new five-train fleet that run routes from......

New Survey Highlights Mobile Coverage Gaps on UK Rail Lines

(03 May 2023, BWCS Staff)
Barely three weeks since the UK government addressed the lack of rail track mobile coverage in its Wireless Infrastructure Strategy paper, a mobile network analysis company has seemingly clarified the extent of the problem. To almost no-one’s surprise, a newly-published coverage survey by Streetwave addressing the main line from Edinburgh to London found a series of “not-spots” (areas of no mobile network coverage). However, the overall speed of mobile internet connection, when connected, was not bad and some mobile companies fared better than others. Overall, the data......

Lithuanian Trains to Test Starlink Supplied WiFi On-Board

(25 Apr 2023, BWCS Staff)
Lithuanian Railways (LTG) is to be the latest train company to participate in the rejuvenation of satellite as a means of supplying broadband to trains. The national rail operator this week announced plans to test Internet on its trains provided by Starlink satellites. The three-month pilot project is slated to start sometime this quarter. Once one of the contenders to be a central channel for delivery of broadband to trains, satellite appears to be making a come-back in the train-to-shore connectivity stakes. Recently CGI, started work with the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture,......

Northern Completes t’Digital Upgrade …

(11 Apr 2023, BWCS Staff)
Northern has completed a three-year project to improve on-board technology on its trains. The operator’s ‘digital train’ programme was a multi-million pound investment scheme to bring the older trains in its fleet up to date and provide them with the same digital facilities as the 101 new trains introduced into service two years ago. In total, Northern has refitted 233 trains with WiFi, HD CCTV cameras, live passenger information screens, passenger counting and 17,200 USB charging sockets. The Northern franchise comprises one of the two main rail networks serving the......

UK Government Aims to Boost Reporting of Coverage Gaps on Train Lines and Launches Satellite Trials Fund

(11 Apr 2023, BWCS Staff)
A Policy Paper from the UK government, released today, has put “Fixing coverage reporting, including on trains and in rural areas” as one of its leading objectives. However, the document, entitled “UK Wireless Infrastructure Strategy”, makes little mention of how such gaps, once discovered, should be eliminated. The government points to what it says will be “Substantial investments in telecoms and a new Wireless Infrastructure Strategy to put the UK at the forefront of science and technology, harness enterprise and innovation and drive economic......

NetSkrt Teams up with BAI in Battle to Improve On-Train Connectivity

(29 Mar 2023, BWCS Staff)
Netskrt Systems and BAI Communications (BAI), soon to rebrand as Boldyn Networks, have announced plans to work together to enhance train passengers’ on-board WiFi experience. A statement from the two companies outlines how BAI will integrate Netskrt’s eCDN for Rail solution. The system deploys content delivery intelligence in the cloud and provides video caches on each train. BAI says it will combine this with its connected transport solution to give rail operators a seamless, easy to deploy and manage connectivity solution. The move is designed to help overcome the......

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