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News Link • Transportation

Amtrak Plans to Lure Riders With Screaming-Fast Wi-Fi

•, By Alex Davies
That's because the bus is a lot cheaper than the train. So much cheaper—some advertise $1 fares—that bad service, smaller seats, traffic jams, and terrifying safety records aren't enough to send customers to the train station.

There's no realistic chance Amtrak can lower its prices in the next few years, so it's looking for another way to win customers: Good Wi-Fi. As in, live Tweet your Scandal marathon on Netflix good. Amtrak has a key advantage over bus companies here: It owns the land its trains run on, so installing the necessary hardware is not a big deal.

The Dream of Great Wi-Fi

On Monday, Amtrak announced it is soliciting bids for a proof-of-concept project that would provide at least 25 Mbps of bandwidth to each train running between Boston and Washington, D.C. The publicly-funded railroad, which is operated as a for-profit corporation, has been offering free but mediocre Wi-Fi since 2010. It started with 3G, pulling data from nearby cell towers, and upgraded to 4G in 2013.

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