updated 01:10 pm EST, Mon February 2, 2009
San Fran's BART gets Wi-Fi
San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) service should soon see the addition of permanent mobile Wi-Fi access, according to the technology's provider. WiFi Rail says it has a signed a 20-year deal to provide hotspots throughout BART's terminal network, and particularly on all commuter trains, where the only alternative has so far been cellular access. Routers and switches are being provided by Cisco, while servers are slated to run Mac OS X.
WiFi Rail began testing the network earlier last year, and claims to have achieved download speeds at or above 15Mbps on trains running as fast as 81mph. Completion is only expected by the end of 2010, but the network should expand throughout 2009, and free service has been available at four stations and in several tunnels for the past year.
Access will generally require a daily, monthly or annual subscription, and will initially operate on a strictly commercial basis, with no provisions for BART operations or public safety and security communications.