Nearly half a million people are accessing Wi-Fi services managed by Telent every month at some of the UK’s busiest mainline stations.
Telent was chosen by Network Rail, the stations’ operator, to design and install the Wi-Fi network at 19 mainline stations. The Telent solution uses Wi-Fi 6 to future-proof the service and offers average download speeds that are faster than many home broadband services.
The 19 stations include London Waterloo, Reading, Leeds, Edinburgh Waverley, Manchester Piccadilly, and Birmingham New Street. The Wi-Fi service, which is accessed via the ‘#FreeStationWiFi’ SSID, allows users to connect at an enabled station and seamlessly reconnect upon arrival at another enabled station.
87% of respondents to a customer satisfaction survey said that the Wi-Fi service ‘enhanced the station experience’.
“The Wi-Fi networks are doing exactly what they were created to do – improve the station experience for the millions of passengers that travel through them, and provides a free of charge service that is vital for the commuters and tourists travelling through the stations everyday” said Telent‘s Group Chief Technology Officer, Gerard Donohue. “We’re pleased that Network Rail has the trust in our expertise and experience to continue to deliver following the successful installation and first year of running the Wi-Fi’s service.”
Since launching, there have been up to 3.5 million sessions in a single month and in October 2023, there were 685,924 subscribers who accessed the secure, click to connect service. On average circa 800,000 users per month benefit from the free, child friendly service.
Telent was also chosen by Network Rail to maintain and manage the 19 networks, which include the monitoring of approximately 700 assets. The maintenance covers proactive monitoring, reactive fixes and planned works. Telent continually, proactively and remotely monitors the 19 Wi-Fi networks to ensure the service is always available for users.
Network Rail’s head of customer experience and accessibility, Malcolm Pitt, said: “Passengers have come to expect good quality WiFi as part of their journeys and we knew when we embarked on rolling the service out across our stations, it had to be brilliant. I’m so pleased that their satisfaction scores are showing how well it is working for them and we hope it will encourage more people to visit our stations for taking trains and as destinations in their own rights.”
With support from technology partner GlobalReach and Lumen, Telent designed, installed, tested, and commissioned a user-focused solution that provides continuous coverage at each station. More than 50 miles cable and more than 700 Wi-Fi 6 access points and switches have been installed so far as part of the programme. Additionally operational staff, using a separate SSID, also benefit from the service, which is allowing station staff to access information quicker, enabling them to provide better support to passengers, particularly during periods of disruption. The upgraded network infrastructure has also improved CCTV data links, enhancing public and workforce safety and are being used to download on-board data for train operating companies, reducing mobile data costs.