by Mark Barrett
FirstGroup and Blu Wireless have today announced a supplier partnership which will revolutionise commuter connectivity. Together, we will address passenger demands for super-fast, reliable connections by delivering a 5G track-to-train infrastructure.
Mobile operators have previously sought to address poor commuter connectivity, but it has remained a significant challenge due to railway topography and the returns on investment offered. Now, with Blu Wireless and other strategic suppliers, FirstGroup has developed an end-to-end solution that is affordable and will transform customer journeys. This will allow HD video conferencing, 3D gaming, video streaming, secure access to office applications and rapid browsing to become a reality while travelling at high speeds.
The Blu Wireless 5G wireless solution utilises the large amount of bandwidth available at millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies in the 57-71 GHz band to deliver gigabit data rates within the demanding system, cost and power constraints for this railway application. Moreover, mmWave 5G wireless technology provides data rates in orders of magnitude greater than can be provided by today’s 3G or 4G mobile data networks – with the added advantage of reduced equipment size and power consumption. Blu Wireless is also deploying this technology for other applications – for example, to extend ‘Fibre to the Home’ using gigabit-rate wireless internet connectivity.
This partnership will revolutionise commuter connectivity in an innovative and economical way. The system is a uniquely adapted Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) solution which does not require the hugely complex and expensive infrastructure of cellular systems. We believe that the combination of gigabit-grade data rates with cost-effective and low-power operation will be instrumental in delivering FirstGroup’s passengers with best-in-class on-train Wi-Fi services.