Passengers benefit from enhanced, consistent Wi-Fi service and brand new access to a selection of the latest ITV programmes on board
Passengers travelling with First Hull Trains will now be able to enjoy free 4G-enabled single-sign-up Wi-Fi throughout their journey and the benefits of a faster more consistent Wi-Fi service.
The latest Wi-Fi solution will improve the speed of the current on-board Internet access and open up new opportunities for passengers to watch catch-up TV, browse the Internet, update friends and family, and shop online as they travel.
The new service offers a one-time single sign-up (SSU) solution, which means that passengers travelling with First Hull Trains can say goodbye to the continued need to log-back in to the Wi-Fi system, when connectivity is lost.
To access the free Wi-Fi, passengers need to download the Hull Trains app at www.hulltrains.co.uk/mobile-app/ and sign up once. They will then be automatically connected to the strongest signal available throughout their journey and every subsequent time they travel with First Hull Trains.
The 4G-enabled service offers faster speeds and an enhanced and stronger connection, as well as giving passengers free automatic access to over 22,000 hotspots provided by The Cloud, including Hull Station.
Will Dunnett, Managing Director at First Hull Trains explains: “First Hull Trains is already one of only a handful of train operating companies offering free Wi-Fi. Now, we are taking our commitment to innovation and market leadership a step further by trialling the very first 4G-enabled Wi-Fi single-sign up solution to all passengers.”
The innovative trial has been developed by leading rail operator FirstGroup, the parent company of First Hull Trains, in conjunction with IT firms Icomera, CapMedia, The Cloud, Masabi and ASW. Whilst First Hull Trains passengers will be the first to benefit from the pioneering service, if the trial is successful, FirstGroup will examine ways in which the technology can be installed onto trains at its other rail companies. FirstGroup also operates First Great Western, where Wi-Fi is being progressively rolled out across the network, and First ScotRail, where the hugely successful free Wi-Fi programme is seeing more and more stations and trains added every month.
Mr Dunnett continues: “People have wanted to be able to get online when they travel for several years which is why we’ve always given all passengers free access to our on-board Wi-Fi. But with the demand and necessity growing, our passenger feedback demonstrates they require a better service so we are proud to be the first to provide 4G SSU-enabled Wi-Fi.
“The service is faster, more reliable and will give an improved experience for our passengers and that’s why we’ve made this investment ahead of every other public transport company in the UK.”
Access to a selection of on-board ITV programmes
Further benefits of the ground-breaking service include access to a selection of ITV programmes. First Hull Trains has partnered with ITV to enable its passengers to access a range of programmes on the train on their smart devices, after they’ve aired on TV, irrespective of the Internet connection.
Ben Halabi, Business Development Manager at ITV says: “A key part of our strategy is to make our content available to customers wherever and whenever they want it. We are delighted to be partnering with First Hull Trains to offer their customers access to a selection of ITV programmes at a steady and consistent speed, throughout their journey.”
Will Dunnett explains that the addition of this new, free, on-board service is all part of First Hull Trains aim to deliver the best possible journey experience. Will says: “This industry-first initiative will provide all our passengers with access to a high-quality viewing experience through their smart devices. Many of our travellers are on board with us for up to two and a half hours and this new service means they can still access and enjoy selected episodes of popular soaps, dramas and programmes while they travel. And it’s free!”
About First Hull Trains
First Hull Trains operates 90 services a week between Hull and London Kings Cross. Last year more than 800,000 passengers travelled with the company, which saw year-on-year revenue growth of almost 8%.
Calling at Hull, Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford and Grantham, the organisation continues to strengthen its position as the transport operator of choice between East Yorkshire and London Kings Cross.
First Hull Trains was voted the best train operating company in the UK in an independent passenger survey in early 2014. Established in 2000, the train operator began with three daily services. Today First Hull Trains offer customers seven week day and five weekend services.
Icomera, the mobile Internet connectivity specialist and supplier of First Hull Trains’ original passenger Wi-Fi solution in 2010, explains that by upgrading its existing on-board wireless Internet systems to provide high speed 4G-enabled Wi-Fi, passengers will get an on-board Internet experience closer to the level of service they have come to expect from their home broadband.
Dave Palmer, Senior VP Sales and Business Development for Icomera explains: “With the successful delivery of this upgraded Wi-Fi and entertainment solution First Hull Trains are fully utilising the best technologies available to improve the passenger experience, enhancing their already prominent position as a leading contributor to the development of a truly 21st century UK rail industry”.
The Cloud is the UK’s largest public Wi-Fi provider and the First Hull Trains service will automatically connect passengers to The Cloud hotspot network, without the need for users to reconnect at each hotspot, saving time for our customers and providing additional information.
Roger Matthews, Commercial Director at The Cloud, added: “Wi-Fi usage across our network of over 250 stations has exploded over the last 12 months. Commuters are using smartphones and tablets on their daily commutes to; check the latest News and Sport, email, tell their followers what’s up, or watch video. Hull Trains are adding value to their travelling customers by simplifying the customer journey and enabling them to stay connected throughout their journey and whenever they use The Cloud network of venues. A recent survey of our customers demonstrated the value of Wi-Fi with 96% saying they would rather use Wi-Fi over 3G/4G where available*. Added to this behind the scenes The Cloud is also enabling the delivery of ITV programming to the Hull Train carriages keeping the Trains stocked with up to date content”.
*Survey of 6,558 The Cloud Wi-Fi users during July and August 2014
CAPmedia, a leading UK Wi-Fi technology company, has developed the software and systems to allow passengers to access the ITV content on-board, and to receive highly targeted messages to improve their journey experience. Colin Herridge, Founder of CAPmedia said “We are delighted to have partnered with First Group on this launch, and to have developed a service with them that is both genuinely innovative and market leading.”
AirSense Wireless is a leading solutions provider of seamless intelligent device connectivity and content enabled notifications. The company’s technology provides passengers traveling on First Hull Train journeys with an automated means to connect their mobile, tablet or PC to on-board and The Cloud Wi-Fi hotspots in a transparent and secure way.
Jeff Althaus, Chairman and CEO of AirSense Wireless one of First Hull Trains’ SSU solution suppliers explains some of the benefits of the service: “The system is designed to use a fully automated connection for the passenger via the First Hull Trains App. It uses Wi-Fi selection intelligence to access the best connection throughout the journey and is designed to enable passengers to have free access to over 22,000 Wi-Fi hotspots.”
To view the official Press Release in its original form please click here.