Network Rail has been fined £53.1million by the Office for Rail Regulations (ORR) for not meeting the expected Wi-Fi standards it proposed.
The ORR issued the fine after Network Rail failed to deliver on its promise to deliver Wi-Fi standards average of punctuality levels of 92% for long-distance services between 2013-2014. It failed to meet this target and instead only reached 86.9%. The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced it will utilise this fine to help fund faster Wi-Fi services. The DfT hopes these new Wi-Fi standards will be at least 10 times faster than the current Wi-Fi standards.
The Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said this was key to bringing connectivity fit for the digital age to commuters around the UK and that “we all know how frustrating it can be to have our phone calls and internet use constantly disrupted by poor signal while travelling on trains. Passengers expect and deserve better and with these plans, that is what they’ll get.”
The Chief Executive of Network Rail Mark Carne has responded by saying the organisation accepted the fine and hoped to ensure its future performance would improve. He welcomed the plans to improving WiFi standards and coverage, saying it would complement existing plans at Network Rail to boost mobile coverage.