SBB will introduce free onboard Wi-Fi

Swiss railway operator SBB will cover all long-distance trains with free Wi-Fi. It will be introduced in December 2020 after one-and-a-half year tests on three Intercity routes. The company will also launch an audio support solution for visually impaired passengers.

From late May, SBB is testing free and fast onboard Wi-Fi service on three Intercity routes: Zurich – Geneva, St. Gallen – Lausanne and Basel – Biel/Bienne. The option is based on 3G and 4G technology and available for the passengers via SBB FreeSurf app. Since May, this mobile application has been downloaded around 4,000 times by around 3,000 customers.

In the mid-December 2020 when the new train schedule for 2020/2021 period will be introduced, the railway company plans to expand the FreeSurf service on all 2,500 long-distance trains including the international links. Currently, the trial wireless connection is provided by two Swiss mobile operators Salt and Sunrise. To offer the service regularly, SBB will launch the public procurement in the first months of 2020.

SBB Inclusive

Besides the free onboard Wi-Fi, SBB intends to introduce SBB Inclusive, a new audio support system for visually impaired passengers. It will provide this category of customers with all the necessary information before boarding a train and during a trip. The solution is being tested only on ICN trains for several months. It is available only in German language and for iOS operating systems. SBB is developing the solution’s version for the Android system and in other languages. The SBB Inclusive system will be also available on a regular basis from mid-December 2020.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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