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Amtrak opens bidding for Wi-Fi network

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 12:51pm
Brian Santo

Amtrak is looking for proposals on how to upgrade its on-board Wi-Fi service on trains running the Northeast Corridor (NEC).

The goal is to increase available bandwidth per train from the currently available 10Mbps to a minimum of 25 Mbps.

The company is soliciting bids for a proof-of-concept project. Amtrak said it is particularly interested in constructing a dedicated, wireless trackside network to provide Internet connectivity on its runs between Washington and Boston.

A wireless trackside network would provide passengers a true broadband experience, close existing coverage gaps along the NEC, and allow Amtrak to drop current restrictions on streaming media and large file downloads, the company said.

Proposals should include a technological path to faster speeds as technology advances.

Results of the proof-of-concept project will be used to determine whether it is technically and financially feasible to construct such a network along the entire 457-mile NEC.

 “We know that our customers want a consistently reliable and fast on-board Wi-Fi experience – something we cannot guarantee today on our busiest trains when hundreds of customers want to go online at the same time – and we want to make that possible,” said Amtrak chief marketing and sales officer, Matt Hardison.

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