FirstGroup has announced a partnership that will use pioneering 5G technology on the railway.
The partnership, between Blu Wireless and the multi-national transport group, will ultimately implement superfast 5G Wi-Fi on trains that will allow for faster, high quality streaming that is now the norm for most smart phones.
It is a game changer for rail passengers; many use their commutes to catch up on important work. The power of the 5G technology is such that reliable streaming, rapid browsing and connectivity to cloud-based applications such as Office 365 will be enabled.
Greater rail connectivity is something that has been sought after in the UK for many years. Many of the providers have tried to improve their Wi-Fi offering, but there are significant challenges associated with cost and technology that stand in the way.
FirstGroup is working along Blu Wireless and other important strategic partners such as the Department for Transport and Network Rail to develop a 5G solution that will completely transform rail journeys.
Thanks to 5G technology, the volumes of data that can be processed will be 100 times greater than current capabilities, resulting in fast and consistent Wi-Fi services on train journeys.
FirstGroup’s Head of Digital Communication, Simon Holmes, said the implementation of this technology has been more than two years in the making.
He said: “We have worked hard over the last two-and-a-half years to reach this point which will enable us to deploy 5G technology for the benefit of customers and railway infrastructure.
“Our partnership with Blu Wireless marks a step change for connectivity on customer trains and we look forward to working with them and our other partners to ensure the success of this project.”
Research for a suitable 5G solution began by working at the University of Bristol; investigations revealed that delivery of over one billion gigabit per second throughout a moving train is possible.
As it stands, up to 800 customers on a peak service often share less than a 20th of this.
It promises to revolutionise internet services on the railway.