Need to stay connected? All of our trains now offer free Wi-Fi! We're also planning to introduce high-speed, 5G enabled Wi-Fi and to improve coverage across our network.
Because you’re on a train, there may be areas where the signal is less strong. Bandwidth is shared with all users onboard, so connection speed may be affected as more passengers connect. You won’t be able to watch catchup TV or video sharing sites, or download very large files, and inappropriate or offensive sites are blocked. We have a Fair Use Policy in place and reserve the right to restrict connection speed or terminate a session where we deem the level of use to be excessive and therefore detrimental to other users.
As part of our franchise investment programme we will introduce free Infotainment to our mainland trains. Our customers will be able to access a range of films, catch-up TV, box sets, games, online newspapers and popular magazines.
We're working in partnership with BT to deliver improved WiFi connectivity and speed on board our trains. All of our trains will be progressively fitted with new WiFi equipment, meaning faster browsing and easier connections. We're also working to reduce the number of "not-spots" on our network - areas where the phone signal is too weak for a steady connection - improving internet access on more than 90% of journeys.
On board equipment
We've already started the rollout of new equipment on board our class 450 and 444 trains that operate our medium- and long-distance routes - around 40% of our fleet - as well as preparing for the release of our new Infotainment system, SWR|Stream.
This will increase the connection speed when you connect, as well as making sure that more of you can use the WiFi at the same time.
The new equipment on these fleets will include a free-of-charge media service, SWR|Stream. You'll be able to stream films, TV box sets and catch up TV as well as reading newspapers and magazines on your journey. The content for this service is hosted on the train which means that you'll stay connected to the service, even if the mobile signal isn't great. SWR|Stream will be available on our Class 442 trains when they're introduced, and will be rolled out across the rest of our fleets through 2019 and 2020.
We've developed a strategic partnership with BT (who manage the EE network). They will be building new mobile phone masts to improve mobile coverage on the South Western Railway network, and upgrading existing masts near our railway. This will reduce the number of coverage ‘not spots’ and increase the speed of the on board Wi-Fi.
These upgrades mean that you'll be able to use Wi-Fi calling to improve mobile phone connectivity for voice calls. The enhancement programme, delivering 104 mast upgrades, has already started - and will continue during 2019. We're expecting the new phone masts to be built and commissioned over the next two and a half years, and when the work is complete over 90% of journeys will benefit from improved WiFi speeds and more consistent connections.
We're developing superfast 5G technology with FirstGroup, which we anticipate will be trialled on our network. Planning for this is in the early stages but we hope to be able to make further announcements on these exciting developments soon.