December 4th 2014 – Icomera, a world leader in mobile connectivity solutions, has completed the £2.2m upgrade of on-board wireless Internet systems for the UK’s East Coast Main Line passenger rail business.
Delivery of the upgrade marks ten years since Icomera introduced Wi-Fi to passenger transport in the UK in its pioneering project with the East Coast Main Line operator.
Dave Palmer, Managing Director of Icomera UK said: “A decade ago, passenger Wi-Fi was seen as an interesting innovation. Today it is seen as a vital component of the offer to customers from rail, coach and bus operators. We are proud to have led that transformation in the UK”.
Since its introduction on the East Coast route, Icomera’s Wi-Fi system has facilitated:
- 28 million user sessions
- 372,669 gigabytes of data transfer – equivalent to 89 million video clips, 932 million webpages or 37 billion emails
The completed upgrade for East Coast included the following elements:
- New 4G/LTE roof antenna design to support new high bandwidth 4G networks
- Installation of the industry-leading Icomera X6 Mobile Applications Gateway to each of East Coast’s 44 trains (432 vehicles), giving inbuilt support for 4G and a powerful hosting platform for future applications and services
- New access points and internal Wi-Fi antennas in every carriage offering faster Wi-Fi speeds and increased capacity for more Wi-Fi users
Work was completed ahead of schedule and within budget. The upgrade is currently delivering 574 gigabytes of data per day – almost four times more than previously. Twice as many passengers are using the service as this time last year.
Dave Palmer said: “It’s Icomera’s view that passengers’ expectations about their basic onboard rights have changed dramatically in the past decade, heightened by the extension of fibre optic broadband into millions of homes and the ever-increasing popularity of smartphones and tablet computers. East Coast and Icomera have been frontrunners in understanding passengers’ needs, recognising that the speed and consistency of the on-train Internet connection will be an increasingly important factor in achieving the highest levels of passenger satisfaction.”
When commissioning the upgrade a year ago, East Coast’s Commercial and Customer Service Director Peter Williams said: “We know that Wi-Fi is one of the key reasons why people choose to travel with us, instead of driving or flying. It’s vital that our system keeps up with rapidly rising demand from passengers, starting with a more reliable connection into the system from the moment their journey with us begins.”
By continuing to invest in Icomera’s open application and connectivity platform, East Coast benefits from a complete fleet broadband communication solution which supports remote condition monitoring and onboard catering systems as well as planned additional passenger, business and industry enhancements.
Commenting on last week’s announcement that a consortium comprising Virgin and Stagecoach has been selected by the UK Department for Transport as the next operator of the East Coast Main Line franchise, Dave Palmer said: “We welcome the new owning group to the East Coast franchise and look forward to developing the successful relationship we have established over the past decade with the earlier management teams.”