Another setback in plans for internet on trains

4th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 December 2007, UTRECHT – Train travellers continue to be denied the internet access that has been promised to them for years, the Volkskrant reports. The Netherlands Railways (NS) announced Monday that it has terminated cooperation with telecom company KPN. Both parties were working on plans to provide internet, up to date travel information and infotainment on the train.

4 December 2007

UTRECHT – Train travellers continue to be denied the internet access that has been promised to them for years, the Volkskrant reports. The Netherlands Railways (NS) announced Monday that it has terminated cooperation with telecom company KPN. Both parties were working on plans to provide internet, up to date travel information and infotainment on the train.

The NS says the plans were "too big and not economically feasible." The costs for building hardware into the trains would be much higher than anticipated and the most important source of financing, advertising revenue, has been disappointing. The project is tens of millions of euro short of being profitable.

It is just the most recent setback in this area. NS has been considering the possibility of internet access on trains for years. Recently RTL and DAG dropped out as potential suppliers of content like video items and text messages. And KPN is not the first partner for hardware and software to have its relationship with NS terminated.

The announcement from NS on Monday came at a salient moment. On Tuesday Parliament will debate the budget for the transport ministry. Labour PvdA MP Diederik Samsom on Monday morning called for action on the plans to provide internet on the train, even before NS came with news of the latest setback. "As far as I know the NS has been working on internet access in the train since 2004 at least, and it just has not got off the ground," a disappointed Samsom said on Monday evening. "All the more reason to call on the minister on Tuesday to put pressure on the NS and infrastructure manager ProRail."

Samsom wants the state to earmark EUR 15 million to make internet on the train possible soon. He says this will require total investment of EUR 50 to 100 million, with the NS, ProRail and possibly other commercial parties making up the balance.

NS said that it now wants to concentrate first on providing customers with up to date travel information. This is provided via electronic screens in stations, the signs above the platforms and with the help of illuminated banners in local trains. When asked, a spokesperson for the NS could not say when passengers would be able to have internet access during their train journeys.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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