I am a big fan of free WIFI, it is something that is becoming increasingly common (especially in the USA) and is slowly appearing in UK shops and restaurants. However there a certain environments where a charge is still made – basically if you are ‘captive’. An example of this is when on a train, in this example an East Midlands train from London to Nottingham.
The mobile phone signal on this rail line is legendary for it poor signal which drops out or is very slow in many areas. So a wireless connection would be an excellent idea, and one that the operator has embraced. As expected it is a charged for service unless you are travelling in First Class…..
I haven’t tried it previously as I normally travel ‘coach’ but this last weekend I travelled First for the slow journey back from London – I was looking forwards to the free wifi to help pass the time and get some work done.
But once I logged on the novelty was short lived – the speed was no better than a GPRS connection on a mobile phone (and that is prehistoric in terms of speed). But even worse was that it didn’t even show any connection much of the time. So as usual I tethered my iPad to my iPhone and used that connection, not ideal and it dropped out regularly – but at least it worked.
If I had paid for the wifi however I would not have been impressed, it may only be a few quid for 3 hours, but it is the principle. If you are going to offer a service it should at least work, and this just doesn’t. So perhaps instead of offering free breakfast on morning trains to first class passengers East Midland Trains aught to perhaps look at providing a wifi service that actually works?