UK train company GNER yesterday began a free, 19-day Wi-Fi trial on board rail services out of London's Kings Cross to Scotland and the North of England.
Access may be free of charge, but the trial is limited to a mere 42 trips in total, operating Monday to Friday through this week and the following two. Access is also restricted to holders of First Class rail tickets. Only a single carriage on each train contains an access point, so participants should reserve a seat in that coach, GNER suggests.
GNER's system connects the access point to a satellite-based broadband link. A series of four to six mobile phone links are maintained throughout the journey as back-up and to ensure continuity of service when the train passes through tunnels under station roofs.
The system was designed by Swedish wireless specialist Icomera. Earlier this year, it introduced Wi-Fi on Linx trains running between Gottenburg and Copenhagen, and Oslo-Karlstad-Stockholm.
The GNER trial was originally due to have taken place last September. Depending on the level of demand for the trial, which is aimed at business customers, GNER plan to expand the service to include up to 40 trains. The service is being branded as 'GNER Mobile Office'.
The last trial runs take place on 19 December. The final train is scheduled to pull out of Kings Cross at 23:30, heading for Aberdeen. ®