Network Rail invites £1 billion private sector investment in telecoms infrastructure

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0090.JPG

Network Rail is seeking private sector investment in its trackside fibre optic cable network in a deal that would enable performance, safety and connectivity benefits for passengers.

As part of Network Rail’s initiative to create a more digitally-connected rail network, this ambitious plan aims to secure the funding necessary to upgrade telecoms infrastructure along the rail network in an innovative way without relying on subsidies from government or passengers.

More than 16,000km of data cables next to the railway – carrying information essential to running the railway such as signalling for trains, trackside sensors, CCTV, and internet for trains, railway depots and offices – are due to be upgraded. As Network Rail will not require the full capacity of new cutting-edge fibre optics, there will be sufficient capacity for a third-party to run its own telecoms services – making use of the significant geographical reach of the national rail network to meet demand for improved fibre connectivity across Britain, and taking advantage of the lower cost of fibre deployment along the railway when compared with other deployment methods.