Intel Corporation, Bell Canada and VIA Rail Canada today announced plans to equip select VIA 1 train cars with wireless Internet access for passengers traveling between Montreal and Toronto.
For the first time in North America, wireless local area network or WLAN connectivity will be available within a moving passenger train car. The four-month pilot gives business and personal travelers with Wi-Fi enabled laptops or PDA devices another convenient option to wirelessly access the Internet, check email and connect to corporate networks while traveling on the train.
The pilot service combines the technical expertise, products and services of Bell Canada in conjunction with Intel and PointShot Wireless™. Bell technologies include Bell ExpressVu’s* satellite service, Bell Mobility’s 1X* next-generation wireless network and Bell’s nationwide data network. Intel’s services include Intel’s “Wireless Verification Program” to enhance Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology user experience on Bell’s network. Ottawa-based PointShot Wireless provides the wireless technology within the train. A recent survey conducted by PointShot and Intel showed that 90 percent of respondents saw benefits in having the ability to access the Internet and email while on a train.
“Our research indicates that Canadian business people want to use their travel time to catch-up on email, work on presentations and do other work-related tasks. They appreciate easy and convenient access to the Internet,” said Doug Cooper, general manager, Intel Canada. “Our collaboration with Bell Canada and PointShot Wireless marks another step in making wireless technology more broadly available. With Intel Centrino mobile technology, notebook PC users have the freedom and flexibility of being unwired, whether at work, in a hotel, at an airport–even on a train.”
The Bell Canada AccessZone WLAN pilot service onboard VIA Rail Canada allows an Internet connection to be transmitted to the train from Bell ExpressVu’s Internet satellite service to onboard equipment and then to the end-user’s notebook. Responses from the end-user’s notebook are then transmitted back to the train’s wireless networking equipment and then delivered over Bell Mobility’s 1X wireless network to the Internet.
“Today’s announcement is another example of Bell’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of mobile professionals and business travelers who are increasingly using wireless technologies for Internet access while away from home or the office,” said Almis Ledas, Vice President Corporate Development, Bell Mobility. “This service is a clear demonstration of Bell’s ability to align its resources namely satellite, wireless and wired data networks, with innovative companies like Intel and PointShot Wireless to create a four-month pilot service that will provide train passengers with WLAN real-time on-board access.”
The WLAN connection will allow passengers to be more productive by accessing virtual private networks (VPN), corporate intranets, sending and receiving e-mail, or browsing the Internet. On the outset of the pilot, VIA Rail express train number 53 from Montreal to Toronto and number 66 from Toronto to Montreal will have a VIA 1 car equipped with WLAN capabilities. During the pilot Bell Canada intends to rollout more VIA 1 cars with WLAN access.
Intel Wireless Verification Program (WVP)
Intel and leading wireless LAN service providers have worked together to proactively verify interoperability across their Wi-Fi hotspot network to enhance Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology users’ wireless experience at verified hotspots.
Bell Canada AccessZone
AccessZone, a Wi-Fi hotspot pilot powered by Bell Canada, provides Canadians with a convenient way to wirelessly access Internet service. The pilot was launched in December 2002 and has grown to include more than 20 enterprise locations including: Toronto’s Union Station and Mount Sinai Hospital, Montreal’s Dorval Airport, Kingston, Ontario’s Confederation Park and Marina and Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounges. By leveraging the widespread availability of 802.11b enabled computing devices, AccessZone is helping mobile professionals and business travelers do business where they want and access information when they need it.
Intel is working with Bell AccessZone to advance WLAN computing for mobile PC users by encouraging the deployment of public hotspots, verifying that these hotspots work with Intel Centrino mobile technology-based notebooks, and promoting the availability of hotspots to encourage use.