Rail passengers travelling to London could soon have high-speed internet access after the government revealed plans to invest heavily in Wi-Fi infrastructure on some of the capital’s busiest routes.

Under the new proposals, state-of-the-art wireless equipment will be installed on many of the trains that run into the capital. The initial changes will affect passengers coming to and from major stations in the south, such as Portsmouth, Brighton and Bedford, although travellers bound from northern cities like Leeds and Manchester are also set to benefit.

[themecolor]10 times faster than existing services[/themecolor]

In total, £90 million will be spent on the scheme, telegraph.co.uk reports. The government says it’s aiming to ensure the new connections are at least ten times faster than existing on-board services, the reliability and performance of which have been criticised by users in the past.

According to the ministers behind the project, the free hotspots will give business travellers the chance to continue working during their journeys, while other passengers will benefit from better access to social networking sites and instant messaging services.

[themecolor]Estimated completion date of 2017[/themecolor]

Transport minister Lady Kramer thinks the upgrades will increase passenger numbers. She was quoted by theguardian.com as saying: “Today’s announcement that we are providing free Wi-Fi on trains means people can more easily work and keep up with friends while on journeys.

“As well as steps we have already taken to make train travel as affordable and efficient as possible, we hope free Wi-Fi will encourage even more people to make the greener choice and travel by train.”

Officials have said that work on the new scheme will begin straight away, with an estimated completion date of 2017. What’s more, the hotspots will be free for travellers to access once they become available. While Wi-Fi is available on some lines already, users are required to pay by the hour.