I'm watching this video by Rory Suterland in which he claims at 6:15 that Eurostar could have implemented a WiFi network for £600, but instead choose to spend £6,000,000 decreasing the journey time by 40 minutes.

Is this a substianted claim? This seems to be an awfully low amount to implement a working and usable Wi-Fi network for a tunnel spanning from London to Paris and then to Brussels that will work inside a train travelling through.

  • the wifi can/should be setup in the train itself, one transponder per carriage and a wire running through the entire train which is connected to the device which communicates with the base station and acts as the router for the train's LAN to the internet – ratchet freak May 15 '12 at 23:37
  • This isn't a notable claim. In context, it was some mild hyperbole to demonstrate an unrelated point. My interpretation is that he didn't expect people to accept this literally as a genuine estimate, but merely as a strong contrast between problem-solving approaches. – Oddthinking May 16 '12 at 0:11
  • 4
    I strongly suspect that the majority of travellers prefer doing without Wifi and getting to their destination faster... – Benjol May 16 '12 at 5:00
  • 6 millions for 40 minutes less travel time also seems far too low to me, high-speed tracks are expensive, the numbers I've heard were always in the triple-digit millions or even billions. – Mad Scientist May 16 '12 at 8:29
  • I don't even understand the significance of this claim. It's like saying "the city chose to spend £6,000,000 on building a hospital, when they could have bought a puppy for £6". – DJClayworth May 16 '12 at 12:15

It certainly sounds as if he says

Six million pounds to reduce the journey time between Paris and London by about 40 minutes. For 0.01% of this money you could have put Wi-Fi on the trains

But that was not the cost of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (now called High Speed 1). That cost has been estimated at almost £6 billion, reported here as £5 billion for the link and £800 million for the revamped station at St Pancras in London.

I have no idea what the cost of Wi-Fi on the trains would have been, but £600,000 (about US$1 million) seems more plausible than £600.


Rory Sutherland is just mis-retelling his Eurostar example in that 2011 talk. In an earlier 2010 talk, he correctly quotes the cost as £6 billion, which is what was reported in the news as @Henry pointed out.

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    You should add some details from the earlier talk, for example a short quote, to illustrate the content. This would greatly improve the answer. – matt_black Aug 21 '14 at 21:25

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