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Wi-Fi Takes the Rails

No doubt in honor the the 25th anniversary of FCC’s creation of the rules for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, Amtrak has announced Wi-Fi service for its trains. Here is their press release:

This morning Amtrak launched its Wi-Fi Internet service, known as AmtrakConnectSM aboard all 20 high-speed Acela Express trains, in six major stations along the Northeast Corridor, and in all four Club Acela lounges. Initially offered as a complimentary service, AmtrakConnect is available to every passenger on board Acela Express both in Business and First class seating.

“AmtrakConnect delivers the fast, reliable and consistent connectivity that our customers have been asking for,” said Matt Hardison, Chief, Sales Distribution and Customer Service, noting the on-board Wi-Fi system typically outperforms cellular air cards and smart phones.

Using any laptop computer or other portable device that is Wi-Fi enabled, Amtrak passengers traveling on Acela Express between Washington, D.C. and Boston can connect to the service for general Web surfing and reading email. The system also allows passengers to access their corporate networks through most standard Virtual Private Network (VPN) solutions, turning the train trip into productive work time.In addition, Amtrak is launching AmtrakConnect for all Amtrak passengers within the gate areas of Washington Union Station, Baltimore Penn Station, Philadelphia 30th Street Station, New York Penn Station, Providence Station and Route 128 Station in Boston. Wilmington Station will be Wi-Fi equipped once major station renovations are completed in early 2011. Wi- Fi service continues to be available in all ClubAcela lounges in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

“This is only the first step for our AmtrakConnect program,” says Lenetta McCampbell, Senior Director for On-board Systems. “Amtrak will continually improve the service as Wi-Fitechnology evolves, and we are evaluating opportunities to expand AmtrakConnect to additional routes and stations throughout the country.” AmtrakConnect service on Acela Express trains will remain free of charge during theintroductory period, after which the policy will be reviewed based on customer demand and system performance.

AmtrakConnect was deployed on Acela Express by Virginia Beach-based GBS Group and its partner Nomad Digital.

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