Northern Ireland buses and trains to get free Wi-Fi
Business commuters are to get a free Wi-Fi internet service on key bus and rail services.
Translink expects all train services to offer the high-speed internet connection by the end of September.
Goldline and cross-border bus services are expected to offer Wi-Fi from October — about a fifth of all buses in Northern Ireland.
Currently Wi-Fi is only available on Translink’s cross-channel express to Britain.
The new wireless internet system will also be available on the Belfast to Dublin Enterprise train.
A Translink spokeswoman said: “We are in the final stages of testing Wi-Fi to be rolled out across key Goldline routes including coach services to Dublin and rail services including both NI Railways and Enterprise.”
The move is an attempt to attract commuters from cars, and could prove particularly attractive to business users, who will now be able to work online using a laptop or tablet on public transport.
Smartphone owners who use their device to access the web should be able to enjoy a faster, more reliable connection than that offered by their network.
Wi-Fi also means not having to worry about roaming charges for going online on the Enterprise cross-border train.
SDLP economy spokesperson Patsy McGlone welcomed the news.
“This move will benefit commuters and tourists alike by allowing them greater access to information and work-related tools while in transit,” said the Mid Ulster Assembly Member.
“For those who use the public transport network for business, it could boost productivity and be a boon to our economy, which is in great need of reinvigoration.
“There is a school of thought which might argue that this could have been done sooner, but any move which makes information more accessible is to be welcomed.”
Sinn Fein MLA Chris Hazzard said using the latest technologies is important when it comes to promoting public transport and encouraging people to switch to public transport.
“The Goldliner Service that runs between major towns and cities across the North will become more attractive to commuters with the installation of Wi-Fi,” he said.
“This will allow people to connect to the internet and other devices so that they can work or simply browse the internet during their journey.
“I look forward to seeing this initiative being rolled out in the time ahead and being promoted in order to get more people to use public transport which is more environmentally-friendly.”
Wi-Fi — Wireless Fidelity — is the technology to access the internet using radio waves to provide a fast connection to the internet with devices such as laptops or smartphones. A wireless transmitter on the bus or train receives information from the internet. The transmitter converts data into a signal and sends it to devices.