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Plans to make a new generation of high speed mobile broadband available to 70% of train commuters by 2019 could also see Network Rail provide wholesale services to other telecom operators.

The specifics were detailed in a proposal by Ofcom for granting Code Powers to help Network Rail upgrade its dark fibre and mobile communications infrastructure.

laptop train

After the Department for Transport last year outlined plans to boost customer rail speeds by up to 50Mb over the next five years - in part by upgrading the fibre optic network that runs alongside its tracks - Network Rail estimated that telecoms and internet traffic on its network will reach 200GB by 2018.

This could easily be catered for by the new dark fibre network, which led to Network Rail applying for Code Powers to build the new infrastructure, though the latest suggestion is that it will also be offered wholesale to other ISPs.

In a statement, Ofcom said: "The applicant has explained that its planned network expansion would enable it to deliver and operate a high speed, high capacity national electronic fibre optical network infrastructure to transmit a variety of network and IP services to new geographic areas outside of its existing network footprint."

According to Network Rail, this will serve to benefit the public as a whole by increasing competition in the future provision of various broadband and telecom services.

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