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Chiltern becomes first TOC to launch continuously connected wi-fi

Chiltern passengers will be able to use free wi-fi from their arrival at a station to the end of their journey after the company became the first in the UK to introduce continuously connected wi-fi.

Passengers will only have to authenticate once to be able to access the network.

If they are on a train, their connection will ‘hand over’ between the train wi-fi and the station wi-fi as the train passes between stations, intended to improve connectivity and save costs.

Paul Bowden, acting commercial director of Chiltern Railways, said the new network was “next generation” technology allowing passengers “to be continuously connected to fast and reliable wi-fi”.

The new network is the result of a collaboration between three connectivity experts. WiFi SPARK provided the wi-fi infrastructure and service in stations, whilst Icomera – which has also signed an agreement to provide onboard wi-fi on Arriva trains – provided the onboard technology.

EE provided the connectivity for the onboard wi-fi and is currently working with Chiltern to upgrade trackside infrastructure.

Dean Moody, chief commercial officer for WiFi SPARK, said: “We knew that Chiltern Railways are innovators, they want to push to continually offer the best passenger experience and service that they can, which is why we worked closely with Icomera and EE and really challenged ourselves to design a solution that would deliver both a technically advanced solution and a world-class passenger experience.”

The TOC added that all data sent between the systems is fully encrypted for security and all Chiltern stations and trains are certified ‘Friendly WiFi’ locations, which block inappropriate sites.

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John Wooler   28/07/2016 at 10:29

Chiltern are NOT the first rail operator to provide this service. In November of 2014, First Group were the winners of the Tech World Travel Project of the Year award, having implemented an integrated, seamless mobile/static WiFi service on behalf of Hull Trains (A Direct Access Operator). In addition to one-time authenticated access to 4G on-board WiFi, (provided by Icomera), customers have access to the WiFi hotspot service provided by Sky/The Cloud, providing the "always connected" service now available on Chiltern. Hull Trains app users also benefited from unlimited access to the Cloud WiFi hotspot network nationwide, and access to ITV content on train sourced from CAPMedia via Icomera on-board. Whilst the Chiltern service is undoubtedly more complex given the station network, I believe credit should go to Hull Trains and Grist Group for their pioneering work in this area.

John Wooler   28/07/2016 at 18:12

Oops, sorry about the spelling mistake in the last sentence. That should of course read "First Group"!

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