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UK Government: Free Wi-Fi on trains to arrive in 2017

The government has pledged to provide free Wi-Fi on board trains across England and Wales – though this isn’t going to happen in the near future.

The plan, announced by Rail Minister Claire Perry, is to have free wireless connectivity available from 2017. The delay is because there’s no franchise agreement due over the next two years, but future train operators bidding for new franchises will be made to include the provision of free Wi-Fi services in their bid.

The government said that £50 million of funding will be coming forth from the Department for Transport to ensure this goal is achieved on selected services, namely Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN), Southeastern, Chiltern, and Arriva Trains Wales.

Obviously, this has to be good news for commuters who like to get a bit of work done on the way to the office (or indeed a bit of play, perhaps – certainly on the way home).

Rail Minister Claire Perry commented: “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.”

Image Credit: Phil Richards

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.