LTA to start free Wi-Fi trial next year

The free Wi-Fi trial will roll out at all NEL stations but does not apply to commuters in trains.
The free Wi-Fi trial will roll out at all NEL stations but does not apply to commuters in trains.ST FILE PHOTO

Commuters at the stations on the North East Line (NEL) will have access to free Wi-Fi while they wait, in a trial commencing in the middle of next year to improve connectivity at stations.

The plan was unveiled in the Land Transport Authority's new Land Transport Master Plan released last week.

The free service will be available in all stations on the NEL and at major interchange stations like City Hall, Raffles Place and Dhoby Ghaut.

Commuters in trains, however, will not enjoy the free Wi-Fi.

The LTA said it is testing the viability of Wi-Fi at underground stations to enhance wireless connectivity for commuters while they wait for trains, and more details will be provided "when ready".

The free Wi-Fi trial is part of the LTA's push to make it easier for commuters to work, communicate and have access to information while on the move. The master plan includes plans to improve its smartphone app, MyTransport.SG, for instance, by adding real-time crowd updates to help commuters avoid congested stations and trains.

Aside from trains, the LTA is also developing a common system for transport operators SBS Transit and SMRT to track their bus services and provide commuters with accurate bus arrival times.

LTA's announcement comes on the back of news that free Wi-Fi hot spots are decreasing. The Straits Times reported earlier this month that the number of hot spots has dipped by a third over the past year as the Government has discontinued its funding for the roll-out of Wireless@SG service locations.

Places such as Hong Kong and Tokyo have free Wi-Fi on their transport networks. In wired Seoul, commuters can get connected inside buses and trains while on the move.