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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Online, and off the rails.

East coast Wi-Fi goes off the rails, the perils of those in charge not being in the real world, and somehow they think they can make money from it! Oh dear.

This blog post can be read at

As I hover around the world of getting on-line, I am constantly amazed at the way that those supplying the 0 and 1s, simply don't get it.

The latest example came to me today from the nationalised train operator East Coast, who have announced that they are to improve their on train Wi-Fi by charging for it (in Scum Class, 1st class passengers will still get it free). And that this was the kind of improvement that the passengers had begged them for. The announcement proudly says that it will use the latest technology - HSPA and 3G to speed up their painfully slow `information-superfootpath' . What it doesn't say is what speed this will deliver, so I used a bit of my personal experience, and Google.

My experience of using my Orange Dongle in 3G areas which includes the East Coast Main-line is that the speed indicated on my laptop is 7.2 Mbps. Google tells me that standard HSPA will also deliver 7.2 Mbps. If they are working on 3G then presumably the speed will be affected by the `Contention Ratio’. I seem to remember somebody telling me that by connecting to 3G on my dongle I would cut speeds in half for everybody else on the train. As EC already connects using 3G with satellite back-up I can’t see how this would change.


Please tell me if I’m wrong. I think that it is interesting that they haven’t published their projected new speeds to the end user!

Also the cost. They are planning to charge £4.95 an hour, I pay £5 a month for my Orange Dongle.

They never made any money charging before (Five years ago), somehow I don’t think they will now. I know that this isn't Ftth, but it illustrates the lack of understanding of the real world out there.


Anonymous said...

I guess what you could do is resell the service via a software wifi portal on your laptop.

Might even pay for your train ticket if you get the whole carriage to cough up a £1 each ;)

Seriously though, this is a retrograde step into the realms of overpriced hotel wifi and a move I suspect that will lead to tumbleweed

Mark Holdstock said...

I have always accepted that onboard trains I'll only ever get fairly basic speeds. E-Mail/Facebook and Twitter are all I really want, so I won't be paying, anyway it's all becoming obsolete because I can do most of what I want on my Blackberry