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The experience on train journeys continues to improve. That’s mainly being driven by the general geographic extension of operators’ networks together with specific programmes of work between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Train Operating Companies (TOCs) to provide Wi-Fi backhaul to meet or exceed franchise requirements via ‘track-near’ macro mobile sites. EE provides 4G services over a significant majority of rail routes in the UK. But the large number of relatively small gaps in coverage results in a perception of poor performance.

The current methods of delivering coverage from existing near-track infrastructure limits the improvements that can be realised given the challenges of delivering connectivity for customers travelling through cuttings and tunnels, on busy trains that are not constructed with mobile coverage in mind. Trackside access will be key to improving customer experience where track-near solutions struggle to provide sufficient capacity and coverage. A number of challenges will need to be addressed, with concerted Government support, for this model to prove successful.

For more information on other areas of network policy please contact Richard Wainer using public.affairs@bt.com