Avanti West Coast announced it is investing £45 million in a deal with BT to upgrade mobile and Wi-Fi infrastructure on the West Coast Main Line.
Avanti West Coast is part of the West Coast Partnership owned by First Trenitalia, a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia.
The £45 million investment will see BT add network capacity to nearly 200 cell masts via its mobile arm EE, boosting 4G network coverage on the West Coast route by June 2023.
Investment by both organisations will be designed to enhance Wi-Fi coverage on Avanti West Coast trains through technology upgrades and addressing Wi-Fi blackspots where signal is weak or non-existent.
Avanti West Coast MD Phil Whittingham said: “This is a really exciting partnership with BT.
“The benefits of working with the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider on this project will enhance reliability of our onboard Wi-Fi and give our customers faster speeds and extended coverage on our route.
“It’s a significant step towards better digital connectivity on the West Coast Main Line, which has never been more important.
“These improvements will enable our customers to stay connected during their journey and be more productive onboard our trains, while boosting mobile coverage for communities local to our route.”
Sarah Walker, BT Corporate and Public Sector Director, said: “The West Coast Main Line is one of the UK’s busiest transport routes and, as more people begin returning to offices and others travel for leisure purposes, they will enjoy an enhanced mobile service, delivering quality and reliable connectivity whilst onboard.
“Whether needing to join a call for work, listen to music or simply browse the internet, our network has been designed to ensure seamless connectivity for passengers.
“Not only will the investment in 4G infrastructure benefit rail users, but it will also improve connectivity in towns and villages where masts have been installed or upgraded.”