Eurostar trains will have on-board WiFi in 2014 as part of £700 Million overhaul

Nov 13, 2013
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Paris & London might as well be one city, when you figure that a train ride from the center of Paris to the center of London takes just two hours, leaves every hour, and, with the one-hour time-zone change, only makes you lose an hour in your day; however, that two hour train ride gets pretty long for commuters, who are necessarily roaming in the beginning or that end half of their journey. This trans-chunnel train ride might get a little smoother, as Nomad Digital announced it has signed a contract with Siemens to provide Eurostar trains with on-board wifi.

This announcement, coupled with an existing contract that Nomad Digital has had with Eurostar since 2011, is part of a £700 Million investment that Eurostar is making in refurbishing its entire fleet.

French train provider SNCF announced earlier this month that it had no plans in the next few years to install Wi-Fi on its trains; while one may wonder why SNCF does not work with a company like Nomad Digital, the answer lies in the fact that SNCF, as a company partially owned by the French Government, is required to work only with other French public entities, limiting its options in the Wi-Fi space to few players player: Orange, Alcatel-Lucent (We all know how well things are going for them these days), etc.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Wi-Fi technology for trains was quoted at €2 Million per train, and Orange has an apparent on-going ‘live test’ on the Paris-Strasbourg line that has never been rolled out across France. For now, the only way French businessmen can expect to get wifi on a train out of a French train station is to catch an international train – both Thalys (62% owned by SNCF) & Eurostar are now set to offer on-board Wi-Fi.