Passengers at rail stations across the country can now receive free, fast and unlimited Wi-Fi thanks to a partnership between Telent, Network Rail and Global Reach Technology.
19 of Network Rail’s managed stations now benefit from the latest Wi-Fi technology. The latest technology, including WiFi 6, is being used to future-proof the service, and average download speeds are faster than most home broadband services. Log-on is simple, with a single click to connect providing continuous coverage across the entire station. The service also features Friendly Wi-Fi to filter illegal or harmful content, keeping children and their families safe online.
As a double-boost to passengers, who can stay connected while travelling and receive better support from station staff especially during times of disruption, a private Wi-Fi network has been included enabling staff to access information more quickly on their devices. Station staff also have a Passpoint network giving them secure, frictionless connectivity, which Network Rail says has provided an immediate operational benefit as they connect automatically across the station.
Telent’s Managing Director for Transport, Steve Dalton said, “People on the move expect to be able to have the same levels of connectivity as they do at home. We are delighted to have been part of a project which will enhance the customer experience for today’s tech-savvy passengers and to have had the opportunity to demonstrate our ability to operate as a trusted partner at the forefront of the UK’s digital revolution”.
In September 2019 Telent was awarded the contract from Network Rail to design, install, test and commission free public Wi-Fi for passengers in 19 of Network Rail’s managed stations. Telent was responsible for all elements of the design from radio coverage, fibre network, telecoms, and civils. The final switch-on at Reading station over the festive period marked the completion of the project which has been delivered on time and under the original budget despite the difficulties of working during the pandemic. Currently, around 400,000 users each month have been recorded, with excellent feedback about the service from passengers.
Andrew Haines, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “Offering fast, free and reliable Wi-Fi helps make our stations fit for the future. This has been a priority for me since I joined Network Rail and I know that passengers have told us how important this benefit is also for them. “This was an ambitious project which we have completed on time and under budget, a testament to how our business is delivering for passengers and taxpayers.
“Improving and modernising the railway is central to the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, and we look forward to bringing more benefits for passengers and revitalising our railway in the coming years.”
GlobalReach Technology, chief commercial officer, Simon Vaughan said, “We all carry smartphones, tablets and other digital devices with us to run our lives. Connectivity is vital, and using our new service provides passengers with excellent, high-performance Wi-Fi, supporting a digital, touchless experience, wherever they pass through these stations.”
Wi-Fi services were identified as a key priority for passengers in the National Rail Passenger Survey in 2019, prompting Network Rail to embark on a programme to install the required infrastructure to deliver high-quality connectivity to station users.