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Ofcom publish their advice to DCMS on enhancing rail connectivity

This follows a request from the Government as part of its ongoing work to improve mobile connectivity on the rail network.

Ofcom have published updated advice to the Government on the airwaves that could be used to improve broadband for rail passengers.

Ofcom provided initial advice to government in 2018 on how demand for on-board data services for passengers is likely to grow in the coming years.

Ofcom have now published an update to that advice outlining the best spectrum options to provide track-to-train connections through backhaul for Wi-Fi or mobile small cells on passenger trains.

Their findings are:

  • They believe the 39-40 GHz and 66-71 GHz bands would be best for providing these connections and deliver a more reliable data connection to passengers. There is large capacity in these bands and existing availability of the required equipment.
  • Ofcom are currently considering future plans for the 26 GHz band, including use for 5G. If there is demand to use this band for trackside services, they will take this into account when considering our future licensing approach.

Ofcom will continue to work with industry, DCMS and HM Government as they further develop their plans to improve passenger connectivity on rail routes. techUK and UK Spectrum Policy Forum look forward to helping where possible.


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