Network Rail has announced its intention to improve the coverage and quality of mobile phone signals along the UK’s busiest train routes, in order to help improve productivity.
Under the plans, announced by the Department for Transport (DfT), 70 percent of the travelling public will benefit from the plans, which will cover 30 percent of routes in the UK. The rollout should start delivering improvements by 2015, and is due to be completed by 2019, Network Rail said.
The DfT said the combination of improvements to Network Rail infrastructure and the installation of new equipment would help deliver the upgrades. Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said improving signal quality was vital for the UK’s future business productivity.
“There are few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal. Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality,” he said.
“Be it hardworking commuters preparing for the day on their journey into work or leisure travellers making final plans for their weekend away, today's announcement marks the beginning of the end of poor coverage on our railways.”
The government and Network Rail will now consult with industry on the best ways to carry out the work.
The funding for the project is coming from Network Rail, which is hoping for involvement from train operators too, while telecoms companies are also being consulted for help with the proposals. V3 asked Network Rail for information on the specific routes that will be covered but was told this has yet to be confirmed.
Improving broadband coverage, both fixed and mobile, has been on the government's agenda for some time now, as it sees good, solid access to the internet as a vital step in improving the UK's economic strength.
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