Tory Party Conference: Transport secretary announces high speed broadband to roll out on rail network

  • @adamwithnall

High speed mobile broadband is to be rolled out across the busiest parts of the UK's rail network, the transport secretary has announced.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, minister Patrick McLoughlin said the Department for Transport (DfT) wanted to bring quicker internet access to 70 per cent of all train journeys in Britain by 2019.

In a speech in which he also described the HS2 high-speed railway as a "heart bypass" procedure for the country's transport system, Mr McLoughlin said there were "few things more frustrating than trying to phone a friend or access the internet, only to be thwarted by bad signal".

"Passengers deserve to have the best mobile technology and that is why I am pleased that industry is coming together to make that a reality," he said.

"Be it hardworking commuters preparing for the day on their journey into work or leisure travellers making final plans for their weekend away, today's announcement marks the beginning of the end of poor coverage on our railways."

A statement from the DfT said the programme would use "a combination of an upgrade of Network Rail's existing infrastructure and the installation of equipment that alleviates the barriers to good signal on board a train".

It will particularly target sections of the rail network in between towns and cities where mobile phone signal is poor, so-called "not-spots" along rail corridors.