The availability of high speed Internet on boats and airplanes is becoming more widespread. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently lessened the restrictions on passenger use of electronic devices while on board. WiFi service is also being offered by the US-based train service Amtrak, giving customers another reason to travel with them.
The United Kingdom Getting Into the Travel WiFi Game
The United Kingdom is also seeing an uptick in Internet service availability for travel. Ofcom, the regulatory board for telecommunications in the UK, has given approval to use satellite-based Internet antennas, called earth stations, on commuter trains in the country. Considering that passenger rail travel is still very popular in the UK, this news will surely please many in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
Expected Internet speeds are up to 50 Mbps at each earth station, with 10 Mbps then available to the individual users connected to the earth station. In addition to passenger trains, UK-based airplanes and boats are also part of the Ofcom decision. The latter two will need special spectrum approval from Ofcom, as they enter other countries’ jurisdictions during their travels.
Some Feel the UK Should Focus on Improving 4G Networks and Home Internet Access
Some UK-based tech pundits believe that Ofcom should focus more on improving high-speed Internet access to residences in the United Kingdom. They also believe that sharing the Internet connection between passengers lowers the overall bandwidth for everyone. Additionally, satellite Internet services are subject to outages caused by rainy weather and the many tunnels on Britain’s rail system.
Other pundits have mentioned that improving 3G and 4G network access for rail passengers in the United Kingdom will make more of a difference than implementing satellite-based service on the trains themselves.
Providing more high-speed Internet on boats, trains, and airplanes in the UK, albeit from satellite earth stations or improved 4G network availability, should play a large role in keeping passengers connected when on the go for business or pleasure.