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Budget 'to include funding for free Wi-Fi on trains'

Tuesday, March 19th 2013 by Paul France
George Osborne's Budget will reportedly include funding for free Wi-Fi on trains

The Chancellor plans to provide widespread free wireless internet access on trains.

Chancellor George Osborne looks set to include measures in tomorrow's (March 20th 2013) Budget to significantly improve current levels of Wi-Fi coverage on trains.

According to the Guardian, Mr Osborne is planning to offer an inducement to rail operators to install wireless internet equipment on their trains, allowing passengers to connect to the web while travelling across the country.

The Association of Train Operating Companies says 12 of the UK's 25 national rail franchise operators do not currently offer onboard Wi-Fi access.

At present, the majority of train lines that provide onboard Wi-Fi only allow first-class passengers to take advantage of the service free of charge, although some offer it free to all customers.

A similar move was announced last December by the Scottish government, which is investing £2 million to install free Wi-Fi on all of ScotRail's Class 170 trains by the end of this year.

Under Mr Osborne's plans, mobile phone reception will also be improved on trains as the government aims to boost productivity. Train design means signals are often reflected off trains, but this issue can be lessened by fixing antennae to carriage roofs.

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