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SNCF stations to offer free wifi

Pilot scheme starts next month offering free wifi to rail travellers with 128 stations set to go online by next year

Rail travellers will benefit from free wifi in more than 120 stations by 2015, SNCF has announced.

A pilot internet service will begin next month in Lille-Flandres and Avignon stations. Another 40 Parisian and regional stations aim to go online by the end of June 2014.

Rachel Picard, director general of Gares & Connexions, the branch of SNCF which maintains and develops France’s railway stations, claimed universal free wifi in railway stations was ‘a first for Europe’ and said: “The 128 largest French stations will be connected by February 2015.”

Currently, customers of SFR can access wifi hotspots in some of France’s 3,000 stations.

Mme Picard explained the system would be funded by advertising, saying: “The goal for us is that it will be free for the traveller.

“There should not be any additional cost to the station, but the system will finance itself.”

Operators Nomosphère WiFi solutions and WiFi Metropolis will take dual responsibility for managing the service, with Nomosphère WiFi taking care of ‘technical infrastructure deployment and daily management’, and WiFi Metropolis managing ‘portal and advertising services’.

Photo:Jean-Louis Zimmerman

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