LS telcom UK has produced a report for Britain’s railway to support improved digital connectivity for customers. The research project was commissioned by the Rail Safety and Standards Board on behalf of the Future Communications and Positioning Systems Advisory Group.
The research report proposes a 3 to 5-year technology roadmap, and identifies commercial deployment models for improving high-speed mobile internet connectivity for passengers, as well as passenger and freight train operations. According to the study, wireless technology solutions including a mobile variant of Wi-Fi, 4G, and potentially 5G, are available within the suggested timeframe. Successful deployment of internet connectivity depends on which business model is adopted to ensure that train operating companies can meet the Department for Transport’s connectivity requirements.
The Future Connected Rail Stakeholder Forum (FCRSF) and the Future Connected Train and Customer Communications Steering Group (FCTCCSG) asked for the study to improve cross-industry involvement on the implementation of digital connectivity across the entire rail network. FCRSF and FCTCCSG are collaborations between the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train companies and Network Rail to improve the railway; techUK, on behalf of the digital industries; and Network Rail, the company managing Britain’s rail infrastructure. RSSB is also a member of FCTCCSG.
Nick Wilson, Rail Delivery Group, on behalf of the Future Connected Train and Customer Communications Steering Group, said that “This work has helped us to identify the range of technical and commercial options available. It will inform the rail and digital industries on improving digital connectivity (mobile and broadband) across all of Britain’s rail network for the benefit of rail customers and the train operating companies, freight operating companies and rolling stock companies. In addition, the study will inform government of associated investment opportunities and the shaping of policies to maximize them. The study should generate the further essential collaboration between all relevant stakeholders, to enable the connectivity that Britain needs in the years to come.”
The publication of the report coincides with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and the Department for Transport’s launch of a call for evidence on ‘Commercial options for delivering mobile connectivity on trains’. The findings from the report could help to provide some information to this call for evidence.
An event will be organized on 6th of February at techUK that brings the rail sector, digital industries and government together to discuss the report in the context of the UK’s ambition on rail connectivity.