WiFi on its way for First Great Western trains

If you’re tired of poor mobile coverage and no Internet access on the Paddington train to Wales, you may have to wait a little longer.

First Great Western (FGW) has announced a time scale for the implementation of free WiFi on board its High Speed Train fleet and Night Riviera Sleeper services running from Paddinton to the Costwolds and the West Country.

On 14 October First Great Western pledged to increase WiFi provision as part of its new, 23-month franchise which will see all 53 of its High Speed Trains fitted with WiFi. Installation work for this will start in May 2014 and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Nomad Digital (who are delivering the WiFi service for First Great Western)  state that “The public’s demand for WiFi connectivity on transport has grown rapidly, becoming a vital tool for working and staying connected while on the move.

Unfortunately passengers travelling between London, Reading, Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Bristol Parkway and Wales, will have to wait a while.  In the meantime there is free WiFi at several FGW stations through the public provider The Cloud or your mobile phone network.

Broadband is going G.fast

G.fast which can potentially deliver Broadband speeds of up to 1000Mbps (1Gbps) over BT’s hybrid fibre & copper lines has being given formal “consent” to the start the approval process by The International Telecommunication Union (ITU-T).

The ITU approval process is expected to complete in Q3 2014 and will pave the way for potential launch of G.fast into consumer market in 2016/17.  This ties in nicely with the completion of the current Next Generation Broadband Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) deployment by BT.

At present BT uses FTTC technology to deliver speeds of up to 80Mbps, depending on line length.  G.fast adopts a similar approach to FTTC but is designed maximise latest technologies such Vectoring. The clever thing about vectoring is that it minimises ‘cross-talk’ interference, and does not require mains power since it draws power from the customers modem/router.

Another advantage of G.fast is that is cheaper to deploy than Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), and along side greater use of radio spectrum is likely to be the next step of BT’s deployment in meeting Government targets for Next Generation Broadband access by 2020.

Broadband vouchers for business in Cardiff and Newport

SME Businesses in Cardiff and Newport can now register their interest for grants of up to £3000+VAT to help them get connected to a 30+ Mbps Broadband Service.  Eligible businesses have to pay the VAT on the installation. The grant is also not designed to cover line rental and any general service charges.

Cardiff Council is inline to receive £11M from the UK Government’s Urban Broadband Fund (UBF). Both Cardiff and Newport are now accepting inquiries from businesses. For more information click here.

UK Gov originally intended the UBF to be spent on being spent upon the construction of new ‘ 80-100Mbps+ ‘Ultrafast broadband infrastructure, however due to legal challenges from BT & Virgin and concerns over State Aid the scheme has now been diluted and used on connection vouchers.

Cardiff and Newport are the only cities in Wales who are to receive money under the UBF, since Swansea’s application was not accepted by the UK Government.