East Croydon aerial view (Network Rail)

UK: Network Rail has awarded mobile telecoms mast operator Cellnex UK a 25-year contract to provide continuous connectivity on the 80 km line from London Bridge and London Victoria to Brighton.

Mobile network operators will be provided with additional capacity through the installation of towers along the railway, together with equipment boxes to house the telecoms equipment. A high capacity fibre cable will be provided along the entire route, and bespoke radio equipment installed to ensure uninterrupted coverage in tunnels and cuttings.

The staged deployment is expected to take around two to three years, starting with enhanced connectivity at London Bridge and London Victoria stations by April 2022.

‘The Brighton Main Line and its branch lines carry around 1 700 trains and 300 000 passengers a day at their busiest, through one of the UK’s most densely populated areas’, said Sussex Route Director Shaun King. ‘The ability to stay connected on the go is now a basic expectation — one that is shared by Network Rail, train operators, government and passengers. This deal will give passengers and communities near the railway seamless phone and internet connectivity, including in stations, tunnels and cuttings, all the way from London right down to the south coast.’