Life’s essentials – wifi

I had lunch last week with Team Nottingham and our guest was Lilian Greenwood – MP for Nottingham South. Lilian is in the shadow Transport team and has specific responsibility for rail. That is clearly a really interesting gig – especially with HS2.


But we did have a discussion around more pressing things about rail. Notably the service from Nottingham to London on East Midlands Trains. I use the service a lot. In fact this blog post is (slowly) being written in Carriage G!

Many of the group in Team Nottingham have the opportunity to use the East Coast Main Line – and rave about it. It is quicker, cheaper and has brilliant wifi.

I wouldn’t suggest for one moment that EMT is cheap – unless you book in advance. And booking in advance takes away all flexibility. So if I miss my train that’s it – the ticket is worthless. It’s ok for EMT to be 5 minutes late but it’s not for me.

But my real issue is the wifi – which in first class if free. But free shouldn’t mean useless? The service is woeful. It is slow and frequently drops. Sometimes it’s better to tether to my iPhone. Except that the phone signal is equally poor. EMT have a quiet carriage where phones are banned, in my experience most of the carriages are quiet – because phones don’t work…

I know that technology moves quickly and it’s easy to get left behind. But wifi is now such a critical part of business that this is a top priority! It’s not just about trains, it’s actually about our cities. We need to make sure that people can connect and work almost anywhere. I wouldn’t dream of booking a hotel now unless it had free wifi.

One of life’s essentials?

3 comments on “Life’s essentials – wifi

  1. Wifi is free in first class? Surely it should be free everywhere, provided as a routine service people expect to receive when they travel somewhere or stop for a coffee? The idea that you can use wifi to generate income or grab people’s data misunderstands what wifi is about and people’s tolerance threshold. I’m not going to spend 5 minutes filling in a form when I can simply tether to my phone. Nottingham should be a free wifi city.

  2. I totally agree with your points Tim, and share your frustrations! You can get WiFi on the underground now! If EMT can’t offer a stable and connection with reasonable speed, then it’s pointless. I’ve often been under pressure to do something for work which relies on a connection and its so annoying when it doesn’t work properly. What also frustrates me is the age of some of their carriages and how impractical they are to work in on a laptop/ iPad. I use EMT because I have to. They offer an ok service on the whole, but I too always hear that the East (and West) lines into London are better. Definitely room for improvement in the context of value for money and service.

  3. An eye opening read. I believe Wi-Fi should be free in most places that have the connection. It’s better for businesses to develop bonds with clients or future clients in public places without having problems showing a power point for example. Thanks for sharing.

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