WEB & TECH / FEB. 19, 2015
version 6, draft 6

The UK to Install Free Wi-Fi on Trains

The best part about living in a high-tech era is that you can go just about anywhere you want and still be connected to the rest of the world and all of its immense information.

Wi-Fi enabled mobile devices and other equipment makes this possible. Now, the railway system in the UK is finally catching up to this fundamental necessity.

Free Wi-Fi is coming to a train near you, according to a recent announcement by British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Railway passengers throughout Wales and England have complained about the lack of Wi-Fi availability while traveling—especially those who need to stay connected for professional reasons.

Cameron claims the new implementation will be beneficial for commuters who need access to the Internet.

"I am pleased to announce plans that will see the rollout of free Wi-Fi on trains across the United Kingdom from 2017," Cameron told MPs in the Commons. "The government will invest nearly £50m to ensure that rail passengers are better connected."

As digital infrastructure continues to progress, so does self-employment.

Free Wi-Fi and hotspots are nothing new when it comes to local cafés or fast food restaurants.

Many independent workers like to stay on the move, so they often take advantage of locations that provide free Wi-Fi.

Now that freelancing is becoming a rising trend, it’s time for the transportation industry to hop onboard the digital train.

The Department for Transport will help to fund the operation, which will be made accessible for passengers commuting via TSGN, Southeastern, Chiltern and Arriva Trains Wales.

Investment has been left to the responsibility of the railroad industry operators.

According to a report by The Telegraph, "the investment will be funded from fines imposed by the Office of Rail Regulation on Network Rail in July 2014 for the late running of services."

Railway Minister Claire Perry believes Wi-Fi is the start of a "long-term economic plan" that will improve the railway system as a whole.

However, not only will this new investment benefit growing developments within the railway industry, but it will also work in favour of businessmen and women who have on-the-go work assignments.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has expressed their approval of Cameron’s initiative.

The organization has been working on reforms that would improve the connectivity of Britain’s independent workers.

Director of Policy and External Affairs Simon McVicker says because "independent professionals are always on the move, visiting both new and existing clients ... the current lack of Wi-Fi causes a huge loss in productivity."

The IPSE believes that investing in a digital economy will bring the nation up to speed with how fast the self-employment sector is growing.

Starting with the railway network will ensure that businesses and individuals are always connected while traveling from location to location.

Instead of using a satellite signal, Wi-Fi will be accessible through equipment placed on the tracks. Cameron has asked railroad operators to start working on financial deadlines and the installation of the new equipment as soon as possible.

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