Passengers on Southern and Thameslink trains will benefit from free Wi-Fi from 2017.
Rail Minister Claire Perry announced today (February 11) that £50m funding will be released from the Department for Transport.
Mrs Perry said, “I am determined to improve journeys for rail passengers. Free Wi-Fi is a priority for many as being able to keep up with work, connect with friends or even check the latest journey information online helps make rail travel more productive.
“We are investing record amounts in the rail network as part of our long-term economic plan, and this investment, coupled with major works such as the Thameslink programme, new Intercity Express trains and the Northern hub, will ensure that passengers will soon have a railway fit for the 21st century.”
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “As someone who regularly travels from the North of Scotland around the country, I appreciate the value of fast, cheap internet connections on trains for both leisure and business travellers. That’s why the government is earmarking around £50m to provide free Wi-Fi on trains; this and our other franchising improvements mean that nearly three quarters of rail journeys will be made on trains with Wi-Fi provision.”
The department has challenged rail industry operators to begin installing equipment as soon as possible to deliver Wi-Fi by 2017.
Some operators have already installed equipment to provide improved mobile coverage on-board their trains.
By targeting the investment at franchises that would otherwise have no immediate plans to introduce Wi-Fi, the government is ensuring that as many passengers as possible benefit.