Plymouth City Council’s Leader is calling on the Government to make mobile phone companies improve mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity on trains between Plymouth and London.
Councillor Tudor Evans has written to Brandon Lewis MP, Minister of State for Housing and Planning, the Oliver Letwin MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy asking the Government to work with mobile companies to increase the number of mobile booster sites along train routes in the South West.
The letters are in response to the ‘Connectivity on government buildings project’ which aims to get more government and local government buildings to improve Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity. The Government is asking local authorities to work with them and share information.
Councillor Evans said: “Connectivity is one of the six priority areas of the Plymouth Local Economic Strategy and we are already working with providers to improve coverage in Plymouth.
“However, the Government must do something to address the poor mobile connectivity and Wi-Fi on Plymouth to London trains. We have been campaigning to improve mobile connectivity during rail journeys for some time to bring standards up to those experienced in other areas of the country.
“The need for business friendly rail journeys is one of the issues that the Peninsula Rail Task Force has been lobbying for as good, reliable connectivity and communications is essential to growing our economy.
“Although the trains now have Wi-Fi, there is very limited and intermittent connectivity because of a lack of mobile booster sites, particularly in rural areas. We need more mobile booster sites on routes between London and Plymouth to enable business people to work while on the trains.”
Councillor Evans said the rail industry is currently saying network coverage is the responsibility of Mobile Network Operators, though in November 2013 Phillip Hammond MP said improving mobile communications along major rail corridors was an important priority for the Government’s growth agenda.
He said: “I would be interested to understand what is being done by Government and the rail industry to influence Mobile Network Operators and Network Rail to ensure that they provide better connectivity in the South West Peninsula and the main line to London.”
More information on the Government’s Connectivity on government buildings project is available here.