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Free Wi-Fi On UK Trains From 2017

David Cameron made the pre-election pledge during Prime Minister's Questions. Next up, how about decent sandwiches.

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British trains will have free Wi-Fi from 2017, according to an announcement from David Cameron, ensuring anyone on a long rail journey will be able to refresh BuzzFeed or buy some extra Candy Crush Saga credits to dull the pain of being delayed.

"I'm pleased to announce plans that will see the roll-out of free Wi-Fi on trains across the United Kingdom from 2017," Cameron announced during Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions. "The government will invest nearly £50m to ensure rail passengers are better connected."

In what appeared to be a pre-planned question, former culture secretary Maria Miller stood up to ask what Cameron would do about trains "stuck in the analogue age" without access to the internet.

Cameron immediately pledged fresh action on the matter, although the policy appears similar to a previous announcement from last year.

PM: From 2017, I can announce that we'll see rollout of free wifi on trains with £50m govt investment #PMQs @transportgovuk

No. 10 Press Office @Number10pressFollow

PM: From 2017, I can announce that we'll see rollout of free wifi on trains with £50m govt investment #PMQs @transportgovuk

12:28 PM - 11 Feb 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

However, not all rail passengers will immediately benefit from the announcement – Cameron named just four rail companies that will benefit from this pot of funding. It is expected that other rail franchises will include free Wi-Fi when their franchises come up for renewal.

"TSGN [Thameslink Great Northern], Southeastern, Chiltern, and Arriva Trains Wales will all benefit from this investment," the prime minister said.

A handful of train operating companies currently offer free Wi-Fi in some form, although the personal experience of BuzzFeed News writers suggests most existing services are only capable of download speeds last associated with AOL dial-up accounts circa 1999.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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