Recently I had to use the train quite a bit. The experience wasn’t as bad as I’d remembered from my teenage years. The trains were on-time, quiet and clean. I spent the daily commute into Birmingham listening to music on my phone but, after playing nearly every tune and podcast on my phone, I wanted more. For those not lucky enough to have an FM radio the only other solution is streaming radio. I gave this a try with the help of the Android app “OR Player” and within minutes I was listening to C89.5 from Seattle.
It worked great. In fact it worked so great that I took this picture, but it all went wrong just moments later as I lost signal only to regain it with a rather rubbish GPRS connection. I did manage to get around this by setting a rather huge buffer size but, with other travellers sitting by me also struggling to get a signal or make reliable calls, why is the signal on trains still so patchy?
Today a survey by BroadbandGenie has revealed how good our mobile networks are during a train journey. Dongles from Orange, o2, 3UK, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile were all tested during a journey from Cambridge to Bournemouth via London. Speeds did vary across the networks, although T-Mobile came out top in both speed and reliability.
What is interesting for me is just how well the UK motorway and road network is covered, yet the rail network still seems to be a little patchy in parts.