Travel firms urged to offer free Wi-Fi after Ofcom decision

Travel companies have been urged to offer access to super-fast Wi-Fi without extra charge as regulator Ofcom announced its decision to license super-fast broadband on aircraft, trains and ships.

Travel expense services provider Concur argued in favour of the move as part of consultation, emphasising that access to internet services is essential to improve the lives of business travellers.

Now the decision has been made, Concur is pushing travel companies to offer Wi-Fi for free.

UK managing director Isabel Montesdeoca said: “We’re delighted that Ofcom has licensed super-fast broadband on the UK’s planes and trains. Travelling on business can be a hugely rewarding experience, but it also comes with its unique challenges.

“Today’s news promises to make the lives of regular business travellers easier as well as more comfortable, enjoyable and productive.

“However, we urge travel companies to offer access to super-fast Wi-Fi as standard, not as an additional charge. Why? Because access to internet services isn’t a luxury on the road.

“It’s the difference between missing a flight and boarding, between a successful meeting and getting lost on the way there, between following up on a lead and seeing the email too late.

“It’s as essential to the traveller as running water or electricity is to the consumer.”

Ofcom said there was broad support for the authorisation of Earth Stations on Mobile Platforms (ESOMPs) following consultation launched last August.

“We recognise the benefits that this technology would provide to consumers and citizens that wish to have high-speed connectivity to a range of communications services while travelling,” Ofcom added.

“Our proposed light-touch approach for the authorisation of ESOMPs will minimise the regulatory burden for operators and users and thus should help to facilitate the take up of these new innovative services.”

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