Commuters will be able to access free Wi-Fi on VLocity carriages on five V/Line services under a plan outlined by the Victorian government this morning.
The state government said it would open an 'expressions of interest' (EOI) process for the provision of Wi-Fi for VLocity carriages on V/Line services between Melbourne and Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Seymour and Traralgon.
The government will spend $40 million on the Wi-Fi rollout and on a program to eliminate mobile black spots in regional areas of the state.
"This announcement will be of enormous benefit to thousands of commuters, with more than 13 million passenger trips recorded between these regional centres and Melbourne each year," Premier Denis Napthine said in a statement
"Eliminating these blackspots along train lines means commuters will be able to access emails, social media and work. As part of the project, the government will invest in a public Wi-Fi service on these trains to ensure that all commuters have uninterrupted access to the internet for the duration of their journey.
"Commuters travelling beyond these regional centres will also be able to access more reliable mobile services, with the Coalition government also addressing mobile blackspots across Victoria more broadly."
Following the initial Wi-Fi rollout, the government will consider expanding the service.
Last month the Victorian government revealed free Wi-Fi would be offered in central Melbourne. A partnership between the state government, Melbourne council and the private sector will deliver the service. An EOI process for Wi-Fi in the city closes on 17 April, with the government intending to award contracts mid-year.