Rail connectivity project to fix mobile blackspots

Thursday, 20 April, 2017

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Mobile blackspots will be fixed along Victoria’s five busiest regional rail corridors.

The Victorian Government will partner with Telstra, Optus and Vodafone to carry out the $18 million regional rail connectivity project.

Commuters will experience improved mobile coverage and connectivity along the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon and Seymour rail lines, which see more than 15.5 million passenger trips annually.

“Regular commuters spend up to 20 hours per week on regional trains and we need to keep them connected so they can keep in touch with their loved ones and use their travel time productively,” said Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis.

Victoria will be the first state in Australia to implement in-train technology used to boost the signal from mobile towers outside the rail carriage to devices used inside.

Work has already begun to pilot the installation of mobile reception repeaters in VLocity trains, designed to boost in-train coverage from less than 50% to almost full network coverage. If successful, the repeaters will be rolled out on the entire VLocity fleet in 2018.

In-train technology is used in more than 30 rail networks across Europe including Germany, Italy and Switzerland to boost the mobile signal from towers inside train carriages.

Passengers will begin to experience improved mobile coverage from the end of 2017, with the construction of up to 35 new mobile towers commencing after the pilot process and set to be completed in 2018.

The regional rail connectivity project is expected to boost productivity for regional business commuters, delivering an estimated $20 million per annum to the Victorian economy.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/kantver

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