Twiddling your thumbs while you wait for a train will be a thing of the past for St Pancras International commuters as the station becomes the first UK transport hub to launch a new WiFi that is ten times faster than the average home or office broadband.
The new advertising supported system, which will be rolled out from today, is the first instalment of a two phase major upgrade plan managed by WIFI Metropolis. The first phase will see service coverage and strength of the service increase at St Pancras International, Ebbsfleet, Stratford and Ashford by ten times. Phase 2, planned for autumn, will see the capacity increase again another twenty times.
After the work is finished the new system will be able to host as many as 7,000 users streaming HD simultaneously.
As the only station in the UK to offer WiFi of this quality, St Pancras International partnered with WiFi Metropolis to upgrade the structure and revamp its offering after noticing a significant rise in people surfing the net via their mobiles on site. Wendy Spinks, commercial director of HS1 International ltd (owners of St Pancras International) says: “As a network we are always looking at how we can improve commuter’s journeys. With the latest figures showing that the number of people accessing the internet using a mobile phone has more than doubled between 2010 and 2013 - from 24% to 53% - now felt like the right time to install the service.”
Consumers will be able to access the high quality network for 20 minutes by simply watching a 20 second advert. Greg Smith, managing director at WIFI Metropolis says: “The public’s use of the internet is now primarily through mobile devices, this means that the expectation and requirement is high quality broadband wireless internet access. The traditional “good enough” is no longer acceptable. WIFI Metropolis is fortunate to have the opportunity work with HS1 International Ltd. to develop our shared vision of what high quality WiFi internet access can provide to the 52 million customers of St Pancras International, Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford. A unique service for a unique historic location.”
Wendy adds: “Whether commuters are rushing to catch a train and want to download the latest film for their journey, have an uninterrupted video call or find themselves in-between meetings with nowhere to work from, this new technology will completely change the way visitors can use their time in the station.”
Passengers across the HS1 network, including Ebbsfleet, Stratford and Ashford, will be able to log on to the service as they make their way to and from London. The new network will be welcomed by commuters from Essex, after a recent survey revealed that the county suffers from the slowest internet connection in the UK.
The new WiFi marks the beginning of a number of technological developments to take place at the station. In another train station first, St Pancras International is set to release an app in the next few months that will offer commuters access to special offers, the history of the station and local information.