Avanti West Coast invests £45 million to upgrade Wi-Fi coverage across West Coast Main Line
Avanti West Coast has partnered with BT to boost digital connectivity on West Coast Main Line through upgrades to mobile and Wi-Fi infrastructure.
- Avanti West Coast and BT partner to improve digital connectivity
- Deal designed to provide enhanced Wi-Fi coverage on West Coast route
- Upgrades will boost connectivity on Avanti West Coast network
Avanti West Coast is investing £45m in a deal with BT to upgrade mobile and Wi-Fi infrastructure to improve connectivity for customers travelling on the West Coast Main Line.
The partnership will see BT add network capacity to nearly 200 cell masts via its mobile arm EE, boosting 4G network coverage on the West Coast route by June 2023 that will enable faster, more reliable onboard train Wi-Fi.
Investment by both organisations is designed to enhance and expand Wi-Fi coverage for customers travelling onboard Avanti West Coast trains through technology upgrades and addressing Wi-Fi blackspots where signal is weak or non-existent.
The programme, which is underway, will improve connectivity and digital experience while on the move. Customers connected to the onboard Wi-Fi will be able to browse the internet, send and receive emails and make video calls more seamlessly.
While BT will provide the infrastructure and connectivity to enable the onboard Wi-Fi, upgrades to the Wi-Fi system will be made by Avanti West Coast, as part of its investment. This will enable a reliable connection for customers accessing the internet for free on their device.
Technology enhancements and additional masts will also provide better connectivity for EE customers who are local to the West Coast Main Line, as well as emergency service respondents in the area - with faster data transfer speeds available and more mobile devices able to use the network simultaneously.
This will enhance coverage in areas with existing 4G, as well as introduce new 4G coverage. Areas that will benefit include Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Staffordshire as well as regions of Lancashire, Cumbria, and Edinburgh.
Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, said: “Avanti West Coast’s upgrade work, supported by the Department for Transport, is a win for everyone who uses, or lives close to the West Coast Main Line.
“Investing in better connectivity helps transform rail travel, improving journeys for passengers by building a black-spot free network, with the added benefit of supporting local communities.”
Phil Whittingham, Managing Director at Avanti West Coast, said: “This is a really exciting partnership with BT. The benefits of working with the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider on this project will enhance reliability of our onboard Wi-Fi and give our customers faster speeds and extended coverage on our route.
“It’s a significant step towards better digital connectivity on the West Coast Main Line, which has never been more important. These improvements will enable our customers to stay connected during their journey and be more productive onboard our trains, while boosting mobile coverage for communities local to our route.”
Sarah Walker, BT Corporate and Public Sector Director and Enterprise Sponsor for UK Rail Strategy, said: “The West Coast Main Line is one of the UK’s busiest transport routes and, as more people begin returning to offices and others travel for leisure purposes, they will enjoy an enhanced mobile service, delivering quality and reliable connectivity whilst onboard.
“Whether needing to join a call for work, listen to music or simply browse the internet, our network has been designed to ensure seamless connectivity for passengers. Not only will the investment in 4G infrastructure benefit rail users, but it will also improve connectivity in towns and villages where masts have been installed or upgraded.”
Avanti West Coast
Notes to editors
About Avanti West Coast
Avanti West Coast, operator of intercity rail services on the West Coast Main Line, is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia, delivering a cleaner, greener railway that drives the West Coast forward.
We’re on a mission to revolutionise train travel, linking together the towns and major cities of the UK to create an iconic railway the country can be proud of. We’ve got big plans including a fleet of new intercity trains, as well as the complete refurbishment of the existing Pendolino train fleet. We will introduce more train services every week with new routes added, and a much-improved onboard service with enhanced free Wi-Fi, plug sockets, 25,000 brand new seats and improved catering. Since 8 December 2019, passengers have benefitted from improved passenger compensation, available for journeys delayed by just 15 minutes.
For the latest news, visit the Avanti West Coast Media Room: https://newsdesk.avantiwestcoast.co.uk/
Press Office: 0845 000 3333
BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.
For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.
British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
For more information, visit www.bt.com/about