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Free Wi-Fi coming to Victorian train services

Commuters in regional Victoria are set to get access to free Wi-Fi on selected train services, thanks to a new $40 million project aimed at eradicating mobile blackspots.

Free Wi-Fi is coming to trains in regional Victoria.Image by Wongm, CC BY-SA 3.0

Commuters in Victoria will no longer have to battle for an internet connection on regional trains in Victoria, thanks to a deal that will bring free Wi-Fi to some routes.

The investment project, announced by Victorian Premier Denis Napthine, will bring free Wi-Fi to selected V/Line regional rail routes, including VLocity carriages that operate between Melbourne and Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon.

The Commonwealth Government will soon begin tendering for ISPs to provide the Victorian-government service, which will bring "uninterrupted access" to commuters for the duration of their journey according to the Premier.

"This announcement will be of enormous benefit to thousands of commuters, with more than 13 million passenger trips recorded between these regional centres and Melbourne each year," said Premier Napthine.

The move is also part of a wider bid by the State and Commonwealth Governments to boost mobile coverage in regional Victoria more broadly.

"Commuters travelling beyond these regional centres will also be able to access more reliable mobile services, with the Coalition Government also addressing mobile blackspots across Victoria more broadly," said Premier Napthine.

"This funding will improve mobile coverage for regional towns affected by mobile blackspots. Around 40,000 Victorians live in areas where mobile coverage is poor or non-existent."

According to Victoria's Minister for Technology, Gordon Rich-Phillips, the pilot routes encompass more than 620 kilometres of track, 40 per cent of which features little or no mobile data coverage; the $40 million investment will go towards the construction of new towers in order to improve mobile coverage across these areas and across the state.

While free Wi-Fi is currently only planned for the five services outlined above, the State Government said it would consider a further Wi-Fi rollout across the network following "the successful implementation" of the initial services.