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Commuters and leisure travellers can look forward to wider broadband coverage on the UK's rail network.

First Great Western has announced plans to upgrade 23 stations with the addition of free wireless broadband access, allowing passengers to access the web on laptops, tablets and other mobile devices.

Wi-Fi services are to be provided by public wireless broadband provider The Cloud, and will be available on station platforms, concourses and in waiting rooms.

Oxford, Ealing Broadway and Maidenhead are among the stations to be upgraded in March 2012, while ten further interchanges including Reading, Bristol and Bath will receive free Wi-Fi at a later date.

In total, the 23 stations handle over 64 million train journeys each year.

First Great Western Station Contracts Manager Robert Jackson said travellers now expect to be able to access the internet wherever they are, especially to pass the time during their commutes.

"The popularity of Wi-Fi - as seen in stations with existing connectivity - made the decision to expand and upgrade a very easy one to make," he commented.

"This deal with The Cloud enhances the Wi-Fi network at those stations and extends it across many other busy stations, improving the service we provide to millions of passengers every year."

Vince Russell, Managing Director at The Cloud, said millions of people received smartphones, tablets and e-readers for Christmas and will want to make the most of them on their commute.

"Wi-Fi provides an excellent and consistent connection which, as many travellers will recognise, is not always possible when travelling across the country," he noted.

"This new deal with First Great Western will mean millions of extra travellers will benefit from The Cloud's Wi-Fi service."

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