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VIA Rail tests new wireless Internet service

VIA Rail Canada is continuing its quest to provide a wireless Internet provider on board trains. Last July, the agency tested Bell Canada’s Access Zone® Wi-Fi service; now, it’s begun a pilot program with Spotnik Mobile.

The Canadian wireless Internet service provider installed its MobileSpot™ program on select VIA Rail trains traveling between Montreal and Quebec City. Designed for the transportation market in conjunction with TELUS Mobility, Cisco Systems Canada and palmOne, MobileSpot enables passengers to use laptop and handheld computers to access the Internet from locations beyond the reach of Wi-Fi hotspots, according to a prepared statement.

Using a combination of satellite, cellular and 802.11b connectivity to the Internet to ensure maximum up time, the program transmits passengers’ Internet requests from their computer to the wireless local area network on board the train, and then to the Spotnik Network Operating Center. Data is returned via a high-speed satellite link

The service will be free to VIA Rail customers until March 31.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/25/2004