Photo/IllutrationFree Internet access will be offered on the N700A-series Shinkansen. (Provided by Central Japan Railway Co.)

Free access to wireless local area networks (WLANs) will be available soon on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line.

Central Japan Railway Co. (JR Tokai), operator of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line, said Jan. 25 that it will start providing free WLAN access in trains and stations.

The new service will be introduced on N700A-series bullet trains in the summer and is scheduled to be available on all 2,096 cars of 131 trains by the end of fiscal 2019.

West Japan Railway Co. (JR West), operator of the Sanyo Shinkansen Line, with which the Tokaido Shinkansen Line shares tracks, is positive about the plan, according to JR Tokai officials.

If so, then free Internet access is likely to be offered on both lines.

JR Tokai has already been providing WLAN access to passengers who have signed contracts with communications carriers since 2009, but the new service means it will be available for anyone without having to make arrangements in advance.

Free WLAN access will also be offered around the waiting rooms of all 17 stations along the Tokaido Shinkansen Line as well as on the Hida express, which is popular among non-Japanese tourists.