San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has finalized an agreement with WiFi Rail to install and provide WiFi connectivity on all BART commuter trains.
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
We are thrilled to showcase our technology in the network designed for the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system, it is a great partnership. This is a unique opportunity to demonstrate what high-speed Wi-Fi access, interconnected by a huge fiber-optic backbone, can mean to a transit system and its passengers, Wi-Fi Rail Inc. CEO Cooper Lee said.
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. Riders in the future will be able take advantage of free Internet access - but with a catch. Access will be cut off after 3 1/2 minutes and the users will have to endure 30 seconds of ads before being able to surf the Internet.
Neither BART nor Wi-Fi Rail representatives would provide specific details of the contract Friday. Completion is expected by the end of 2010, but the network should expand throughout 2009.