Deutsche Bahn has officially become the highest spending European train operator when it comes to passenger WiFi services. Having invested over 200 million euros on expanding its technical WiFi infrastructure at stations, on trains and buses in recent years, it plans to pour another euros 44 million into growing the service even further over the coming months.
In addition, the Federal Government is assisting it by demanding that Germany’s mobile network operators greatly increase their coverage of the nation’s rail network.
Currently Deutsche Bahn’s WIFI@DB service is available in Inter City Express (ICE) trains, at over 100 stations and in approximately 200 regional trains and buses. By the end of this year, more than 130 train stations will provide the service. Several hundred more regional trains and buses are due to follow suit over the course of 2021.
The company says it is currently investing a further 44 million euros in expanding its WiFi network at the stations. It has set up 3,800 access points to date and installed an extra 230km of cables. As reported here on Friday, passengers will now only have to log on once. After that they can get online access at stations and in trains all day for free. Passengers can now stay online even when switching trains.
The ICE fleet has been offering passengers WiFi across its network since 2017. However, the mobile network has not always been up to scratch on all parts of the long-distance routes. Expanding this network is the responsibility of mobile network providers. The Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) has made it a requirement that mobile network operators provide coverage of all of the most important train routes by the end of 2022. By the end of 2024, all lines are to be covered. Deutsche Bahn says it is in close contact with mobile network providers in order to improve connectivity on the rail network.