Wi-Fi Enabled Train Coming to U.S.

Wi-Fi Enabled Train Coming to U.S.


PointShot Wireless, a developer of wireless solutions for mobile environments including trains, buses and vehicles, announced today it has signed an agreement with California rail operator Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) to implement the first-ever U.S. trial of a Wi-Fi enabled train. The three-month trial is scheduled to begin in mid-September and will provide free Internet access to ACE passengers, allowing them first-time access to email, the Internet, corporate intranets, instant messaging and digital entertainment while in transit.

ACE has installed PointShot Wireless’ RailPoint(TM) Wi-Fi solution on its trains to serve a community of business travelers, commuting daily from Stockton to San Jose, California. The service is free-of-charge during the trial, and ACE passengers only need a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop computer or PDA to access the broadband wireless service.

“Onboard Internet access is the logical next step for a passenger-focused service like ACE,” said Chris Juelch, ACE’s project manager for the PointShot endeavor. “Most ACE riders are business commuters, so the PointShot Wireless system will help them dramatically increase their onboard productivity. We’re excited to add this new level of service to the ACE commuting experience.”

PointShot Wireless’ RailPoint(TM) is a mobile wireless solution that lets rail operators such as ACE better attract loyal travelers, increase yield and generate new revenue streams by offering differentiated onboard connectivity, communication and content services to passengers. In addition, RailPoint enables new business applications for operators, including onboard communication, real-time ticketing and advanced security features.

ACE expects 25-to-30 percent of its passengers will immediately utilize the service to stay connected and be more productive while commuting. In fact, a recent survey conducted at ACE found that nearly one-third of passengers surveyed would utilize such a service to take online courses or obtain a college degree while aboard ACE trains.

PointShot Wireless enables the Wi-Fi service with a satellite-delivered broadband downlink and cellular uplink to an onboard Wi-Fi access point.

ACE is the second rail operator in North America to use Wi-Fi as a competitive differentiator. Intel Canada, Bell Canada and PointShot Wireless successfully implemented a trial for Canadian travelers last month on VIA Rail Canada passenger trains. Similar deployments are planned in the United States and Europe later this year.

“Our Wi-Fi trial with ACE advances the company’s strategy to build and deliver comprehensive and transparent wireless services to mobile users,” said Shawn Griffin, president and CEO of PointShot Wireless. “With our SolutionPoint platform, we are allowing rail operators and other mobile markets to deliver new wireless solutions to their customers, generate new revenues and open new market segments.”