Fri, Jan 27, 2017 - Page 1 News List

High-speed rail to get Wi-Fi service ahead of schedule

Staff writer, with CNA

Jacky Wu sings Blue and White Porcelain on the TV variety show Hot Door Night, which is due to air on SET Metro tonight at 9pm.

Photo: courtesy of SetTV

Wi-Fi service is expected to be available on all high-speed rail trains by August, more than one year sooner than previously scheduled, the Cabinet said yesterday, in an effort to address a major complaint among passengers.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC, 台灣高鐵) previously planned to offer Wi-Fi service on two of its trains by the end of this year and to make the service available on all of its 34 trains by the end of next year, the Executive Yuan said.

However, at the request of the government, the firm agreed to move the schedule forward, the Cabinet said, adding that Wi-Fi access would be available on all high-speed rail trains by August, when Taipei hosts the Universiade, a major international sports event.

Passengers can use their own 4G mobile Internet service during their journey and Wi-Fi services are available on a small number of carriages, it said.

However, the quality of the Internet connection is affected by several tunnels on the northern section of the line, the Cabinet said, adding that public opposition has prevented the installation of more mobile cell sites.

The unstable Internet connection has been a major complaint among passengers on high-speed rail trains.

At the request of the Cabinet, the company said it has been working with Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) to improve connectivity.

Network infrastructure is to be installed inside the tunnels on the line, the Cabinet said, adding that the government would cooperate with telecom service providers to improve their service coverage in central and southern areas.

The statement followed a complaint on Facebook on Wednesday by variety show host Jacky Wu (吳宗憲) over the lack of Wi-Fi service on high-speed rail trains.

“THSRC has been running for 10 years... It has extra money for TV commercials, so why do they not put Wi-Fi on their trains?” he asked in the post, which received 53,000 “likes” in an hour.

The high-speed railway operator does not need ad campaigns, he said.

“What it really needs after 10 years is access to Wi-Fi,” he added.

The nation’s high-speed railway network — spanning 350km with 12 stations — began operations in January 2007.

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