Wi-Fi set to be available on all high speed rail trains by August

Taipei--Wi-Fi Internet services are expected to be available on all the trains on the high speed rail line by August, more than one year ahead of a previous schedule, in an effort to address a major complaint among passengers.

The Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp. (THSRC) had previously planned to offer Wi-Fi services on two of its trains by the end of the year and had aimed to make the service available on all of its 34 trains by the end of next year, the Cabinet said in a statement Thursday.

But at the request of the government, THSRC agreed to move the schedule forward, the Cabinet said, adding that Wi-Fi access will be available on all high speed rail trains by August, when the 2017 university games, a major international sports event, will be held in Taipei.

Passengers can use their own 4G Internet service during their journey, and Wi-Fi services are available on a small number of carriages, the Cabinet said. But the quality of the Internet connection is affected by several tunnels on the northern section of the line, and opposition from the public to set up more mobile cell sites, it said.

The unstable Internet connection has been a major complaint among passengers on high speed rail trains.

At the request of the Cabinet, THSRC has been working with Chunghwa Telecom Co. (????) to improve Internet connection, it said.

Cable equipment will also be installed inside the tunnels on the line and the government will cooperate with local telecom service carriers to strengthen the coverage of their services in central and southern Taiwan, the Cabinet said.

The Cabinet's statement came after popular local entertainer Jacky Wu (???), complained about the lack of Wi-Fi service on high speed rail trains in a Facebook post Wednesday.

"THSRC has been running for 10 years...It has extra money for TV commercials so why don't they put Wi-Fi on their trains?" he asked in the post, which received 53,000 "likes" in a hour.

The high-speed rail does not need ad campaigns, he said. "What it really needs after 10 years is access to Wi-Fi," he added.

Taiwan's only high-speed railway, which is 350-kilometer long with 12 stations, started operation in Jan. 2007.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel