Qld Rail Wi-Fi plan goes ahead

Qld Rail Wi-Fi plan goes ahead

Summary: Queensland Rail has gone to market for a supplier to provide a Wi-Fi service on the state's suburban trains that would offer wireless internet, security and other services.


Queensland Rail has gone to market for a supplier to provide a Wi-Fi service on the state's suburban trains that would offer wireless internet, security and other services.

In April, the state's Transport Minister Rachel Nolan revealed Queensland Rail had conducted a trial of the technology on the Gold Coast line network and wanted to blanket its Citytrain network, including stations, with Wi-Fi coverage.

In a request for information document released this week, Queensland Rail said it wanted a communications service that would allow it to:

  • Stream CCTV images from carriages back to a central monitoring office
  • Deliver Wi-Fi services to passengers
  • Provide a channel that would allow the delivery of customised data and media from Queensland Rail to on-board passenger mobile devices and fixed display screens in the trains; for example, LCD screens

The document revealed there was currently no carrier-provided wireless communications to Queensland Rail's Citytrain carriages, meaning retrieving CCTV security footage from the trains was a manual process. In addition, passengers on trains had no access to the internet, apart from their own 3G mobile devices.

Regarding passenger use of the proposed Wi-Fi services, Queensland Rail is envisaging that passengers would be able to access the internet on trains, as well as packaged content, such as Queensland Rail safety messages, information about track closures and special events, and "infotainment" such as news, weather and sport.

Queensland Rail is currently investigating the feasibility of installing additional LCD screens in trains to aid with providing information to passengers; currently, some trains have several LCD screens, but not all.

Topics: Broadband, Government AU, Networking, Security, NBN, Wi-Fi

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • camped out geeks

    I can see it now: Internet junkies camped out on trains and train stations all day to download as much data as they can. Wonder how fast the wifi networld would be? Perhaps a joint initiative between Telstra and QLD Rail to provide NextG type speeds to passengers?
  • Maybe not

    I can see them charging for the Wi-Fi access, or at least introducing some restrictions for those not willing to pay (like a 50 MB data limit). Those who pay (say $4) will get upwards of 1GB to play with while they commute. Unless I am proven wrong (which I hope) it is the only sensible solution to curb leeching.
  • sensible

    That sounds like a good idea actually anon. What would be even better if say, they did do something similar to what you suggested (pay $4 and get 1gb) you get that 1gb and have no time restrictions as to when you need to use it by. Probably won't happen but wouldn't it be nice?
  • It will tie in to ticketing

    I imagine they'll tie it in to ticketing. Much like a coffee shop that gives you your receipt with a code that gets you xx minutes of wireless access while you drink your coffee, I imagine tickets will contain a similar time-sensitive code.

    First time you attempt access you hit the auth page which prompts you for the code. These systems are in place already in hotels, coffee shops, corporate "visitor wi-fi" zones...

    Go card holders will probably get to plugin their card # and get a certain amount of minutes or MB included with their regular Go card fee.

    In other words, people can sit at train stations all day download if they want, they just need to buy enough train tickets.