Amtrak improving Wi-Fi experience with LTE upgrade

Amtrak announced that its rail network's AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi service should be fully upgraded to use LTE backhaul by summer's end. According to Broadband Reports, "The upgrades involve updating on-train antennas and hardware so they can obtain LTE speeds from towers (Amtrak uses both Verizon's and AT&T's networks)." Amtrak said the LTE upgrade is complete on Acela Express and the California-supported Capitol Corridor, Pacific Surfliner and San Joaquin services, and it will be rolled out to all remaining Wi-Fi equipped Amtrak trains by late summer, including the Northeast Regional.

AmtrakConnect is provided at no additional cost, is available on trains that serve 75 percent of Amtrak passengers and routinely supports between 30 and 50 percent of passengers on a given train, said Amtrak. The company said it will continue to restrict data-heavy activities such as video and music streaming in order to keep high-volume data users hogging bandwidth. The traveling public increasingly demands Wi-Fi access from transportation providers, including airlines and rail networks. For example, Cablevision recently announced that it is close to wrapping up negotiations that will allow it to deploy Wi-Fi service on commuter trains in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For more, see this BroadbandReports article.

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