Feeds

Labour calls for free Wi-Fi on trains

Just in Scotland. Shrug

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.