The Western Australian State Government has announced plans to add on-train passenger WiFi to the long-distance “Prospector” train service between Perth and Kalgoorlie. However, it is not clear how the train to shore connection will be handled as mobile reception along the route is virtually non-existent.
The 653km (406 mile) train journey to the gold-mining city, currently takes some six hours and 45 minutes to complete. Mobile network coverage maps show that Telstra is the only one of Australia’s three national operators to have any kind of presence in Kalgoorlie. However, even Telstra has only a handful of base stations at towns along the route.
The Prospector runs once a day into the Eastern heartlands of Western Australia. The single-class carriages are already equipped with seat-back touchscreen entertainment systems offering TV shows and movies.
The issue of on-train WiFi for the service surfaced recently among a list of policies to improve life in the Goldfields being discussed by the WA Government. A spokesperson for the administration told the Western Australian newspaper “We have been looking into it pretty closely with (Transport Minister) Rita Saffioti. It was raised with her out here and we are finding better ways to get WiFi onto it and we have also already commenced trying to get better phone coverage on the train.”
The policy paper also recommends improving the train services and investigating the possibility of adding overnight trains to compete with airline companies.
On-train WiFi services, trackside networks, the growing market for passenger WiFi and on-board entertainment will be the main subjects of BWCS’s WiFi on Trains Conference next June. For information on speaking and sponsorship opportunities at the 2020 event, please contact Ross.Parsons@BWCS.com.
The 2019 conference (www.Traincomms2019.com ) was sponsored by Icomera, Nomad Digital, Fluidmesh, RADWIN and BAI Communications.