Feeds

Labour calls for free Wi-Fi on trains

Just in Scotland. Shrug

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The Scottish Labour Party is calling for trains and buses to offer free Wi-Fi, following the tradition of parties not in power of calling for impractical, but populist, measures.

The idea is to get people out of cars by improving public transport, and skips over the fact that public transport in Scotland is run by private companies who make their own decisions about internet connectivity, not to mention the basic impossibility of providing back-haul for every bus in Scotland.

Not that these problems faze John Park, Economy and Skills spokesman for Scottish Labour, who is quoted by the BBC as saying: "This is a sensible measure that would be good for the economy and good for the environment."

Part of the problem with getting drivers into buses and trains is that cars are very comfortable, and generally suited to the driver, so replicating that experience on the train or bus is difficult. Offering the chance to catch up on EastEnders while taking the bus to work would be a competitive advantage - but that's up to the companies running the transport systems, not the government of the day, nor its opposition.

The idea of mandating Wi-Fi on every bus in Scotland is clearly laughable, as should be obvious to anyone who's travelled north of Edinburgh. Existing systems on trains, such as the Heathrow Express, use WiMAX to back-haul from the moving train to track-side boxes every few miles, which are then connected over ADSL to the internet. Even replicating that on every train line would be prohibitively expensive, and while buses equipped with tracking satellite dishes would be amusing to watch, it's hard to imagine what kind of application would justify the cost.

The Scottish Government reckons it's already looking at "innovative ideas" to get more people onto public transport, and is examining the business case for insisting ScotRail implement Wi-Fi, but it's a stretch to imagine even that's going to make sense outside the cities. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management
How using vulnerability assessments to identify exploitable weaknesses and take corrective action can reduce the risk of hackers finding your site and attacking it.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.