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UK wants to improve connectivity on trains

UK's Department for Transport launched a new consultation to find the solution for the problem of failing mobile reception while on-board one of the country’s many train services.

If you need to get some work done, or just looking for a quick fix of internet meme action while on a train, frustration will visit you fast as patches of good reception can quickly evaporate into nothing.

The government has issued a Call for Evidence (PDF), to seek what solutions could be used to solve this.

The consultation also attempts to propose some solutions of its own, which it splits into two categories: on-train and off-train.

Some of the Potential on-train technical options are roof-top antennas used to aggregate mobile network data signals, and rebroadcast as Wi-Fi signals on the train, digital on-board repeaters which amplify external mobile signals, or Femto cells which act as mobile base stations.

Potential off-train options include improvement of the offrail infrastructure by every mobile network operator, Network Rail assets utilisation by all network operators, as well as the option in which one or more network operators are providing mobile coverage across the train route.

Ed Vaizey MP, Digital Economy Minister, said: “Dropped calls and intermittent access to the internet are frustrations felt by many rail passengers. Mobile communications are so important to passengers that free Wi-Fi now appears in the top ten priorities for improvement according to a major survey last year.”

“The Government is responding to this by investing millions of pounds to equip trains with new Wi-Fi equipment. This will go a long way to improving mobile connectivity on trains.”