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(Pocket-lint) - The UK government wants to make sure you can get online whilst traveling by train.

Rail Minister Claire Perry has announced that passengers will be able to access free Wi-Fi on trains throughout England and Wales from 2017. David Cameron also announced the news, telling Members of Parliament that it was “vital for businesses and for individuals to be able to access Wi-Fi and do their work and all other contact while they are on trains”.

The Department for Transport plans to invest £47.8 million in funding to ensure Wi-Fi is available on TSGN, Southeastern, Chiltern, and Arriva Trains Wales. The funding is actually money that Network Rail was required to return to the government for missing targets set by the Office of Rail Regulation. It's just being reinvested for passengers.

Rail industry operators must now detail to the Department for Transport how they'll both meet the commitment to provide Wi-Fi for passengers and begin installing equipment. Keep in mind some operators already provide Wi-Fi, so the investment is only going toward franchises that had no immediate plans to offer Wi-Fi.

Operators are therefore supposed to help the department identify specific routes that'll benefit most, and they're supposed to do so when placing their bids. Funding will then be awarded subject to satisfactory proposals.

Writing by Elyse Betters.
  • Source: Department for Transport - gov.uk
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