WiFi on trains: making public transport more (un) pleasant

This grump from The Guardian online demonstrates that there’s more to making train travel nicer than finding a place to put an access point/router. Virgin is clearly offering a service that is at best only inconsistently acceptable and might not even be that good. From the comments underneath the article it’s clear that some people have had a better experience than others, and that other operators have provided a better experience sometimes.

Three observations:

  • The people who design these propositions don’t test them before releasing them at the public – why else would Virgin and T-Mobile, two companies which are apparently neurotic about protecting their brand equity, offer such an awful service
  • The complexity of service delivery across a fragmented value chain is such that there is no clear owner and no-one to complain to
  • Providing connectivity on the move is much harder than many (including some who should know better) seem to think – the comments that suggest a plain mobile service rather than WiFi would be better show no understanding of how poor coverage is in trains with big metal bodies, tinted windows, running in deep embankements

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