telent has been awarded a contract from Network Rail to deliver free Wi-Fi for passengers at Britain’s biggest and busiest railway stations as part of the latter’s Put Passengers First plan.
Rail passenger journeys in the UK reached a record high of 1.759 billion in 2018-9, a 3.0% increase on the previous year – with the almost one billion passengers regularly using the service in possession of a phone, laptop or other connectable device.
Free WiFi was also identified by passengers as one of the key factors that could improve the environment at railway stations. The new WiFi service will offer seamless connectivity and single sign-on, automatically connecting passengers to WiFi in all of Network Rail’s 20 managed stations.
Planning for the roll-out of free WiFi is already underway, with telent selected to deploy and maintain the future-proof digital infrastructure.
“We are delighted to support Network Rail in delivering this important project, with the appointment demonstrating our experience of delivering best-in-class networks in complex environments,” said Steve Dalton, Managing Director, Transport, at telent. “The project will greatly enhance the customer experience for today’s tech-savvy passengers who expect always-on connectivity, wherever they are.”
telent, with more than 30 years’ experience delivering and maintaining cost-effective and reliable railway communications systems, is a long-term partner of Network Rail. It has previously provided its proven remote CCTV-monitoring platform Arbitex to the rail operator. Arbitex reduces maintenance costs and increases asset reliability.
The new WiFi initiative, which has already been implemented in Euston and London Bridge stations, will be introduced to the UK’s busiest stations, including Waterloo station and Victoria station, from Spring 2020. The service is child-friendly and can be used on more than one device.
Network Rail chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “We all have smart phones and tablets now which means that journeys are no longer dead time, so the station experience shouldn’t be either. Our passengers expect seamless connectivity from their train, to our stations to their places of work and their homes so I am pleased that millions of passengers, who use our stations will soon have access to free, fast and secure WiFi.
“This investment also supports the Government’s approach to delivering a fully connected rail and transport sector and will help accelerate the development of the digital cities needed in the future.”