Long-Term Partnership Could Fund Upgrades to Network Rail’s Ageing Telecoms Infrastructure

Progress is being made towards Network Rail’s goal to upgrade the UK railway’s ageing telecoms infrastructure.

Network Rail in exclusive discussions with consortium on deal to upgrade telecoms infrastructure
Network Rail in exclusive discussions with consortium on deal to upgrade telecoms infrastructure

Discussions are underway with a consortium of two private sector businesses regarding granting rights to commercialise the network.

The proposed agreement will help future-proof Network Rail’s telecoms infrastructure by providing new fibre optic cable and mobile towers across its estate.

The deployment of new fibre optic cable and new mast infrastructure along major rail routes will improve connectivity for train passengers by enabling an uninterrupted signal throughout the entire journey when using their mobile phones to make calls or go online

These connectivity improvements will also benefit those living in rural areas next to the railway, meaning the project supports the UK Government’s ‘levelling up’ initiatives by accelerating the provision of high-quality broadband to harder-to-reach rural communities.

The enhanced network will also allow Network Rail to monitor the condition of railway assets more effectively, enabling faults to be identified and located in real-time.

This will reduce the number of manual inspections required to be undertaken by frontline workers and supports a more targeted approach to engineering.

Harriet Hepburn, Network Rail’s Corporate Finance Director, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity for Network Rail, and we’re excited at the prospect of entering this long-term partnership.

“The proposal provides a comprehensive package that will deliver real benefits for passengers and the railway, and also significant savings for the UK taxpayer.”

An agreement between Network Rail and the consortium is expected to be reached by the summer.

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