Avanti West Coast has confirmed it has partnered with BT in a £45m deal to boost connectivity on the West Coast Main Line.
The partnership will see BT add capacity to nearly 200 cell masts via EE, boosting 4G coverage on the WCML by June 2023, enabling faster and more reliable on-train Wi-Fi.
BT will provide the infrastructure in the programme, which is already underway, whilst Avanti West Coast provides the upgrades to the Wi-Fi system.
These enhancements will also mean better connectivity for EE customers who are local to the West Coast Main Line.
Areas to benefit from the improvement scheme are Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Staffordshire, 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.”
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