Neos Networks in talks to sort out Network Rail’s ‘ageing telecoms infrastructure’

Altnet and business services provider Neos Networks is set to upgrade Network Rail’s internet connectivity with 16,000Km of high-capacity fibre, which will ‘transform UK rail for the passengers and neighbouring communities it serves.’

Having announced plans to upgrade its telecoms infrastructure earlier this year, Network Rail is in ‘exclusive talks’ with Neos to build out the new fibre network along train tracks that will deliver ‘ubiquitous connectivity nationwide.’

Presumably as the organisations are still in talks – exclusive or not – this isn’t all set in stone. But Network Rail’s goal is to lay up to 16,000km of high-capacity fibre next to the railway in order to help run the logistics such as train signals, trackside sensors, CCTV, as well as hook up high-speed broadband for railway, offices and trains themselves,

We’re also told Neos will work in partnership with a tower company looking to provide 4G and 5G network infrastructure in order to provide ‘full end-to-end fixed and mobile connectivity’ to Network Rail.

“This new network will deliver a step-change in connectivity and available capacity, which, in turn will help to transform UK rail for the passengers and neighbouring communities it serves,” said Colin Sempill, CEO at Neos Networks said. “We look forward to working with Network Rail to finalise the contract and start mobilising this project which will see the creation of numerous jobs in different geographies. This is critical for us as we continue to support UK businesses and service providers with the high capacity connectivity services essential for innovation and help deliver on the government’s plans to improve the availability of high-quality broadband across the UK.”

Harriet Hepburn, Network Rail’s Corporate Finance Director added: “This is an exciting opportunity for NR, and we are excited at the prospect of entering this long-term partnership. The proposal provides a comprehensive package that will deliver real benefits for passengers and the railway, and also significant savings for the UK taxpayer.”

As this writer can attest to, coverage on the trains can be frustratingly patchy and so any measure to improve that situation will no doubt be welcome by commuters trying to work or stream whilst they travel. And if hooking up all that extra connectivity to the logistics of the train line means they run on time, we’ll really be laughing.


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