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BART train heading towards San Francisco  (Source: S.F. Chronicle)
The San Francisco Bay Area train system will have system wide Internet WiFi in the future

Do you ride public transportation?  If so, you may have noticed more buses and train systems that are utilizing wireless Internet access for customers to use while en route to their destination.  The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system -- a San Francisco Bay Area train system -- plans to expand its wireless internet to cover all trains and stations.

"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.

Some trains have Wi-Fi internet access already, but this 20-year agreement will cover 104 miles of track and all 43 BART stations with Internet by 2012.  Wi-Fi Rail will pay the entire cost of the $20 million internet installation, and BART riders will have the option of paying daily, monthly or annual subscription fees for the connection.

Wi-Fi Rail hasn't publicly announced exact pricing, but it appears users will pay $30 per month, $9 per day, $6 for two hours, or $300 per year for the service until it's fully operational.  Both companies will share revenue, but exact numbers were not revealed.

A free service will be available, but it offers a catch designed to get people to sign up for the day pass.  Internet will be available in 3 1/2 minute blocks before being turned off so a 30-second advertisement can be played before internet service is restored, the San Francisco Chronicle learned.

Rather than use satellite or cellular service to offer internet to riders, the company will install fiber optic equipment to offer more reliable, faster speeds.  Assuming it works well, Wi-Fi Rail hopes to use the BART system as an example when contacting future clients.

During a 12-month trial done in four downtown San Francisco stations and a couple miles of track in the San Francisco East Bay, 15,000 people registered for the free service while it was used 85,000 times per day, Wi-Fi Rail said.

BART and Wi-Fi officially signed the new contract on Friday, and will begin installation shortly.



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Riiight
By Shida on 1/31/2009 7:09:08 PM , Rating: 2
They can do this while not even stepping up on getting the Translink system in getting it up and running. They still tell people "oh it will be active soon..." it's been 3 years since BART, MUNI, and just about most SF Bay Area Municipal telling people that they will adopt Translink and yet still tell people that they have to continue to fixing the "kinks" for Translink.

If this is true or Translink, then imagine for this to actually come into fruition; 2012? A pipe dream if you ask me.




RE: Riiight
By SunAngel on 1/31/09, Rating: 0
RE: Riiight
By SunAngel on 1/31/2009 7:58:39 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting to learn S.F. has a rail system. I was under the impression, because of the earthquakes and such, that a rail system was unrealistic.

So, if I flew to S.F. instead of L.A., caught a BART from the airport to the downtown S.F., caught a Amtrak from downtown S.F. to L.A, then caught a city bus to my final destination, how much in airfare could I save if my flight started in Syracuse, NY?


RE: Riiight
By Darkk on 1/31/2009 10:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
We have light rails all over the bay area. Quakes aren't a problem since most of the rails are built with "faults" in mind.


RE: Riiight
By ekv on 2/1/2009 2:52:30 AM , Rating: 2
Why wouldn't you avoid SF and instead fly directly to LA?

oh. nvm.


RE: Riiight
By abzillah on 2/1/2009 5:57:47 AM , Rating: 2
BART is horrible. Parking can never be found. Half the parking is saved for people who use BART after 10AM. BART takes at least three times longer than if you would drive your car. It cost more than if you drive your car, and often the cars all full and no room to get on.


RE: Riiight
By guy007 on 2/1/2009 1:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding? BART is always way faster. This is especially true if you take it to the city. You avoid the bridge toll, traffic and parking in the city is usually horrible.


RE: Riiight
By Fusible on 2/2/2009 1:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
Parking is terrible, especially downtown. Where minimum you'll pay $10 for parking everyday, bridge toll of $4, gas with all that Bay Bridge traffic. A 25 minute drive is an 1 and 15 minutes daily with all the traffic. BART is more convenient for those that work in downtown and around the Market area.


RE: Riiight
By hans007 on 2/2/2009 8:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
you'd end up spending more money.

a flight on say southwest, costs much less than amtrak to LA, and it takes 5 hours less time.


WWAN
By btc909 on 2/1/2009 12:22:17 AM , Rating: 5
You might as well get a Verizon WWAN card if you're going to pay $30 a month for train only wireless internet.




RE: WWAN
By abzillah on 2/1/2009 5:52:49 AM , Rating: 2
This is great, now people can upload their videos on the net faster.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tmh9B8LVxM


RE: WWAN
By Murloc on 2/1/2009 6:10:01 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, this service costs too much.


RE: WWAN
By retrospooty on 2/1/2009 10:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
" You might as well get a Verizon WWAN card if you're going to pay $30 a month for train only wireless internet."

Yup... And knowing the californioa govt. They probably overpaid whatever company did the install by 10x what should have been chaged as payback for political favors. Thats pretty much the way it works. So glad I left that shithole years ago.


RE: WWAN
By Kwestyuns on 2/2/2009 9:06:41 AM , Rating: 2
Then I hope you moved to a country with little or no Government. Thats how politics works in every State and Country. It's sad, but true.


RE: WWAN
By hans007 on 2/2/2009 8:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
unfortunately the bart goes underground and into tunnels.


Who Cares
By timmiser on 2/1/2009 2:20:21 AM , Rating: 2
Is DT posting local news now that has nothing to do with the rest of the tech world other than SFO? Here is a big fat "Who Cares?" for ya.




RE: Who Cares
By SunAngel on 2/1/2009 6:32:06 AM , Rating: 2
i'm not a resident of the s.f.b.a. but nevertheless found it interesting. it seems the s.f.b.a. and the puget sound are in a fierce battle to see who can be the most connected area (in the united states). if there wasn't soo much 'pipe dreaming' going on in the s.f.b.a. it would easily hold the title of the most connected area.


RE: Who Cares
By Shida on 2/1/2009 5:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
First off, sorry for the very first post I made. I typed it while depraved of coffee.

Second, SunAngel, the reason that these projects never go sky high is that the public fears deals where companies, like Earthlink or Google-both which tried to do that whole city-wide Wi-Fi project but failed, are just going to treat the whole thing like Comcast does with just having temporary exclusive contracts to the local municipalities in providing content and being a sole provider(s) of that particular municipality.

Now that system is something that, if renewed constantly, will become more and more expensive (or that's what the fear usually is on behalf of those against it). So there's conflicts on these sorts of issues and it never goes off the ground because of it. Now, granted, there are some things that are valid in the local tax payers fears because this is how we have ended up, again, with just Comcast being the "official" sole cable provider for the city of San Francisco.

Now Translink is just taking time because they are rapidly expanding from different county and municipal service and trying to adapt to those systems services. But the complaint of this, like all other similar technological solution implementations, is that it's ridiculous on how it's executed-from conception to finalization (if it ever does).

So what then? Well...all we can say is call it a mere "pipe-dream". Especially with those kinds of estimates.

Here's another question, now that I think about it: as the Translink cards are RFID type cards (and plus with credit cards going RFID), would implementing a Wi-fi network just increase the chances of having someone steal your information?

I just question these things because, really, if we can't get just one system going, then why bother in bringing more technology that is only going to make identify theft problems worse? Conventional thinking, sure I admit to that, but can someone help me out here?


Taking care of business
By dflynchimp on 1/31/2009 11:30:59 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Internet will be available in 3 1/2 minute blocks before being turned off so a 30-second advertisement can be played before internet service is restored


Luckily that's as long as I need to take care of my... ahem... browsing experience.




Shot in the back
By HotdogIT on 1/31/09, Rating: 0
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith











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