Mobile coverage boost for rail passengers

Transport Pillar

G21 region rail passengers are set to enjoy improved mobile phone coverage in transit following the successful testing of Australian-first signal repeaters.

The positive trial clears the way for rollout of the $18 million Regional Rail Connectivity Project, which will boost mobile coverage on Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon and Seymour lines.

The State Government is partnering Telstra, Vodafone and Optus in building up to 35 new mobile towers, which will connect signals with cutting-edge in-train technology.

Trains will be fitted with the technology from early next year and the entire VLocity fleet will have boosters on board by the end of 2018.

The pilot showed boosts in coverage from less than 50 per cent to almost full network coverage on the five lines, which carry more than 15.5 million passengers trips each year.

As well as improving liveability in regional Victoria, the Regional Rail Connectivity Project aims to boost travel time productivity for regional business passengers, delivering an estimated $20 million a year to the Victorian economy.

Victorian Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis said the upgrades would make significant difference for regional passengers.

“In today’s world, digital connectivity is crucial for people’s lifestyles and for doing business. This program is making it fair for regional Victorian passengers by giving them faster, more reliable phone coverage,” Mr Dalidakis said.

The State Government is working to improve connectivity across regional Victoria, delivering free public WiFi in Bendigo and Ballarat and building 166 new towers targeting mobile blackspots. It also announced a new $45 million Connecting

Regional Communities Program in the 2017-18 State Budget.

Source: A State Government media release.