The Victorian government expects to eliminate blackspots on the state’s five busiest regional rail corridors by the end the year after fitting its first trains with mobile signal boosters.
The $18 million regional rail connectivity project (RRCP) is aimed at improving mobile coverage for passengers along the Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Traralgon, and Seymour rail lines.
It will see V/Line’s entire fleet of Vlocity trains fitted with mobile signal repeaters, following a successful trial of the in-train technology last year.
Thirty-five new mobile towers are also being constructed in partnership with Telstra, Vodafone and Optus to increase coverage in tandem with the boosters.
Today the government said around a quarter of the 88-strong Vlocity fleet had already been fitted, with more trains to roll out with the technology over the coming weeks and months.
It expects that by allowing more passengers to work during their commute the project will deliver an estimated $20 million boost to the Victorian economy each year.
Testing has already demonstrated that coverage will improve from less than 50 percent currently to almost full network coverage.
However, the government also warned that some blackspots would remain while the trains were being fitted.
“Better mobile coverage on these rail lines is part of our effort to connect regional Victoria and remove the digital divide between those living in Melbourne and those living in our regions,” Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said in a statement.
The project is one of four infrastructure investments worth $112.4 million focused on improving digital connectivity in regional areas of Victoria.