August 14, 2007 7:01 AM PDT

British rail passengers to get free Wi-Fi ride

Rail passengers on the London-to-Scotland east coast main line will get free Wi-Fi as part of National Express' 1.4 billion-pound ($2.8 billion) winning bid to run the franchise.

National Express plans to take over the rail route from GNER in mid-December after fending off competition for the franchise from Arriva, FirstGroup, Stagecoach and Virgin Trains.

GNER completed the approximately $6.5 million installation of Wi-Fi broadband connectivity on all 41 of its east coast trains last year, and although the service has been free for first-class passengers, those in standard (coach) are charged either $5.96 per half hour or $20.11 for a full day's use.

But in addition to faster journey times, National Express has also promised to extend free Wi-Fi to passengers in standard class as part of its seven-year contract.

The on-board Wi-Fi uses a combination of a satellite link and mobile 3G/GPRS networks to maintain 100 percent connectivity, even when going through tunnels.

A server from Swedish company Icomera on the train provides a 2MB satellite downlink, which is combined with the mobile connectivity. Wireless access points are then fitted at the end of each carriage on a train, which connect to the main onboard satellite server and can support about 40 simultaneous users in each carriage at a time.

National Express said it will also build a simpler "one-stop shop" Web site to highlight the cheapest tickets available, introduce smart cards by 2010, provide real-time travel updates to mobile phones, and allow passengers to print tickets at home or use "m-tickets" through their mobile phones.

Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.

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3 comments

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This is something that
all mass-transit needs. What I dislike about wireless, however, is how easy it is for, say a hotel to install such a service and completely overcharge for it. At least here it seems the service will be free (though I doubt I'll be travelling in Europe any time soon).
Posted by DraconumPB (229 comments )
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Woo Hoo - eBay on rails ;)
sorry. couldn't resist.
Posted by punterjoe (163 comments )
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Nice one...
That was indeed a cool ride...
Anyway,here are some tips on how you can buy and have a quality used car, so as you would not be replacing unnecessary parts along the way...Hope, this might help...
Tips & Warning
? As a final precaution, take the car to a mechanic, who should charge a reasonable fee to check over a used car. The seller should agree to this, but may require that you leave a deposit. If the seller won't let you take the car, offer to meet him or her at a mutually convenient garage.
? If you give the seller a deposit in order to take the car to have it checked, make sure to write out an agreement stating that the deposit will be returned immediately if you decide not to buy the car.
If the vehicle's mileage appears unusually low, have a mechanic determine whether someone has tampered with the odometer. If so, the seller must refund any money you have paid and may be liable for punitive damages under federal and state odometer laws?
This is how I acquire my car; I inspected all its auto parts from exterior and interior aspect down to its <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.aftermarketperformanceparts.com/nissan-bra.html" target="_newWindow">nissan bra</a> and other accessories. By doing so, you could be sure of the quality of vehicle you are getting?=)
Posted by angelfast (21 comments )
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