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February 16, 2005

UK Commuters Get Broadband Wireless Onboard

By Nancy Gohring

T-Mobile has launched a free (for now) broadband wireless Internet service on the Brighton to Victoria express train service in the UK: Commuters will access the network via Wi-Fi. Most of the headlines around this story proclaim that T-Mobile is using WiMax for the backhaul. Nomad Digital Rail is building the network for T-Mobile. It’s not clear which vendor is supplying the broadband wireless backhaul equipment but it appears to be a vendor that plans to deliver WiMax-compliant equipment eventually.

Typically, these types of application use either satellite or cellular to backhaul the network. A broadband wireless technology like WiMax can support much higher bandwidths. It has long been my opinion that these types of Internet access offerings, made to captive audiences like commuters, are a great idea. This Brighton trip takes 55 minutes and I know that if I had that commute each day I’d be willing to pay in order to be able to get Internet access and be productive.

T-Mobile plans to introduce the service on other train lines this summer, when it will begin charging for the service.

T-Mobile has been one of the most aggressive cellular operators to pursue Wi-Fi and now it is showing its willingness to employ other wireless technologies that will allow it to achieve its goals. It’s great news for the WiMax industry to have a major player like T-Mobile employing a WiMax-like technology.

Posted by nancyg at February 16, 2005 12:03 PM

Categories: trains, planes, and automobiles

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