Amtrak seeking trackside WiFi all along its D.C.-to-Boston route

The rail service is seeking proof-of-concept project bids for a network that will enable it to provide 25-Mbit/sec or greater bandwidth all along the 457-mile Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak recently announced it is exploring options to upgrade its onboard WiFi service in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), “with a particular interest in constructing a dedicated, wireless trackside network that provides a high-capacity, broadband-speed Internet connection between Washington and Boston,” the rail service said.

“A wireless trackside network would provide passengers a true broadband experience,” Amtrak continued, “close existing coverage gaps along the NEC, and allow Amtrak to drop current restrictions on streaming media and large file downloads.”

Chief marketing and sales officer Matt Hardison added, “We know that our customers want a consistently reliable and fast on-board WiFi experience—something we cannot guarantee today on our busiest trains when hundreds of customers want to go online at the same time—and we want to make that possible.”

The company is soliciting bids for a proof-of-concept project, the goal of which is to increase available bandwidth per train from today’s 10 Mbits/sec to a minimum of 25 Mbits/sec—and scalable to even faster speeds as technology advances, Amtrak says. “Results of the project will be used to determine whether it is technically and financially feasible to construct such a network along the entire 457-mile NEC,” it added.

Details on Amtrak’s bid solicitation can be found here.

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