Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wireless Access on Oregon Train

Fifteen years in the making.  That's according to what Daily Wireless said about Wi-Fi access on Oregon's comuter line that went online on Friday.

Along a 27 mile route, I can see lots of folks making use of this service.  Personally, I'm not too thrilled about this since I get car-bus-train sickness very easily (I'm fine if I'm the driver).  But I think this is the right step forward.
I'm hoping that stations will also be outfitted with wireless Internet service in the next step.  I mean it's not likely folks will just go to intermediate stops just to go P2P crazy.  And it would be a natural progression in providing commuters service.
Furthermore, it can help promote public transportation.  Obviously, the Oregon route provides free Wi-Fi to all riders.  But at stations, Wi-Fi access can be provided for a small charge to monthly ticket holders.  For mobile folks who don't ride the trains as much, they can buy Wi-Fi creds for an additional free (say $) for5 the day.  
As you read further, you see how much Wi-Fi access is being charged.  The BART seems to be the most ambitious project for public transit but the charges could hinder adoption of the system.  $300 a year.  It reminds me of T-Mobile's hotspot charges.   These days, it's practically free with some services.  Plus, in this economic condition, I'm not sure a lot of Bay Area folks will be eager to shell out a monthly $30 fee for Internet access for a small part of their day.  Plus, it stands to reason that a lot of folks will already have Internet access through their mobile devices. 
Charges aside, let's hope we'll see more wireless Internet access in public venues.  If anyone know of a site that provides lists of wireless Internet in different cities and train stations, let me know.  I think a lot of folks will be interested in knowing if their cities offer Wi-Fi access.  
Source:  Daily Wireless

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