Wi-Fi on Ballarat trains could be years away despite government promise

 
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
Wi-Fi on Ballarat trains could be years away despite government promise.

AFTER  announcing last April that Ballarat commuters would receive free Wi-Fi on V/Line trains, the government is still conducting an analysis of potential solutions.
When The Courier asked when commuters would be able to use the service no timeframe was given.
“The government is investigating options to improve voice and data services for passengers travelling on the regional rail commuter lines through improved mobile coverage and potentially in-carriage Wi-Fi,” Victorian government spokesman Paul Robinson said.
“The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources is currently conducting analysis of options for improved mobile and Wi-Fi services on commuter rail services.
“This analysis is based on a formal market consultation process which commenced last year. This analysis will be used to inform the government’s next steps in relation to this project.
“The timing of service improvements, the order of rollout to specific rail lines and costs will be subject to future government announcements.”
The project was unveiled by the then Napthine government as a $40 million pledge to improve mobile coverage on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon commuter lines.
Despite $40 million being included in last year’s state budget for the project, it looks as if a solution could be years away with no set plan for how the rollout will occur.

The Courier

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http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/2812288/wi-fi-on-trains-could-still-be-years-away/?cs=62

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  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Are there many 'black spots' for Voice Calls and Data now?

Have those black spots pointed out to the Telco's and when subsequently fixed see what the customers say then.

My personal view is to do what can be done to ensure coverage through normal channels (Telco's Mobile Towers) and let the individuals fund their own needs. Spending $40M or whatever to equip the rail fleet would have to come with some pretty severe restrictions, else a few would hog all the bandwidth with big downloads.
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
Are there many 'black spots' for Voice Calls and Data now?

Have those black spots pointed out to the Telco's and when subsequently fixed see what the customers say then.

My personal view is to do what can be done to ensure coverage through normal channels (Telco's Mobile Towers) and let the individuals fund their own needs. Spending $40M or whatever to equip the rail fleet would have to come with some pretty severe restrictions, else a few would hog all the bandwidth with big downloads.
mikesyd
There are many 'black spots' for Voice Calls and Data on the Ballarat line. The experience can be very frustrating.
  8077 Chief Train Controller

Location: Crossing the Rubicon
Delivering ongoing Wifi from a moving train is complex.  Most in train Wifi systems are configured to use a network uplink via LTE for 4G or 3G where 4G is not available. I have not travelled on the Ballarat route but would suggest only telstra would have the 4G coverage for this service.

Why does it take a year to review a few proposals?
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

This was another crazy promise in desperation by Napthine and Mulder.  By all means have wi fi on VLP  Interurban services BUT on a user pays basis. Spend the $40 m on improving VLP. Infrastructure to improve the train service.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
This was another crazy promise in desperation by Napthine and Mulder.  By all means have wi fi on VLP  Interurban services BUT on a user pays basis. Spend the $40 m on improving VLP. Infrastructure to improve the train service.
kuldalai

Agreed...on my phone I check the latest in the Age, the weather radar or other items of interest at my own expense. I know the dead areas. I'm happy to pay for what we have now rather than Wi-Fi at great expense to the transport budget.

Mike.
  SN7 Chief Commissioner

I think that the need for free wi fi for customers is over rated, and un necessary ,  money could be better spent elsewhere.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I think the funny thing about this is that Velocity trains are basically rolling Faraday cages with their thin metallic film over the windows that block most, if not all RF signals.  I have no problem getting decent coverage if I'm in a Loco hauled train....

As to a possible in-carriage solution: Given the number of users, 4G would be the best method of receiving and transmitting terrestrial Internet and phone from each carriage.  Ericsson have managed to test it at 700 km/h: http://www.ericsson.com/news/121101-ericsson-tests-lte-in-extreme-conditions_244159017_c

But then you would need to get Telstra or Optus to agree to provide rock solid coverage along the line along with a guarantee of reasonable bandwidth.  Good luck.

In the end, I tend to think that the money would be better spent on fixing or replacing run-down V/Line rolling stock.
  Braddo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narre Warren
Why has the government wasted $40 million of our money on something that is the responsibility of the service providers?

As for the wifi, buy a router for a couple of hundred bucks and connect it to an antenna on the roof. It's not rocket science.
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
As for the wifi, buy a router for a couple of hundred bucks and connect it to an antenna on the roof. It's not rocket science.
Braddo

That would be too easy !
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
As for the wifi, buy a router for a couple of hundred bucks and connect it to an antenna on the roof. It's not rocket science.
Braddo
It's not exactly easy either... Plenty of challenges:
  • Getting complete coverage over the lines in question
  • Mounting the 4G/3G modem + wifi router in a safe, vandal proof manner
  • Getting power to said pieces of equipment
  • Setting up an access system for users... Knowing government IT, they'd go for a stupid bespoke system and take 4x as long and 2x the original budget to implement it.

It's not as simple as just going into the Telstra Shop, buying a 4G hotspot and duct-taping it to the ceiling of a VLocity.
  Braddo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narre Warren
It's not exactly easy either... Plenty of challenges:
  • Getting complete coverage over the lines in question
  • Mounting the 4G/3G modem + wifi router in a safe, vandal proof manner
  • Getting power to said pieces of equipment
  • Setting up an access system for users... Knowing government IT, they'd go for a stupid bespoke system and take 4x as long and 2x the original budget to implement it.

It's not as simple as just going into the Telstra Shop, buying a 4G hotspot and duct-taping it to the ceiling of a VLocity.
LancedDendrite
As I said in my previous post, coverage is NOT the responsibility of the government. Mounting it is hardly a problem, just chuck it in the cab (which I'm sure would have plenty of suitable power sources). An access system would not be necessary, why wouldn't you just have it completely open-access?

I'd have the job done to a satisfactory standard in under 10 minutes. Don't make it out to be difficult when it isn't.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
As I said in my previous post, coverage is NOT the responsibility of the government.
Braddo

But the Government/VLine Passenger will cop the blame when the passengers get no reception. They can't win - we're a tad self-entitled here in this state.

Mounting it is hardly a problem, just chuck it in the cab (which I'm sure would have plenty of suitable power sources).
Braddo

I can't wait to see what a certain Union would have to say about that.

I'd have the job done to a satisfactory standard in under 10 minutes. Don't make it out to be difficult when it isn't.
Braddo

How about you walk on over to the VLine pods at Southern Cross with your solution then? Please tell us how it goes.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Who cares, anyway?

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