Last year SF's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) began talks with startup Wi-Fi Rail, Inc. to provide system-wide wi-fi service, after successfully running three phases of trials. It's taken more than six months, but on Friday a 20-year deal between the two was announced.
Tests on the BART line were run on 2.2 miles of Hayward track and in the four downtown SF stations (Embarcadero, Montgomery St., Powell St., and Civic Center). According to Wi-Fi Rail, trains moving at over 81 MPH were able to achieve upload and download speeds in excess of 15Mbps.
Cooper Lee, CEO of Wi-Fi Rail, Inc. said
"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 WiFi access, interconnected by a huge fiber-optic backbone, can mean to a transit system and its passengers."
The service will be offered at reduced rates until the entire system is complete at the end of 2010. Once complete, the service will be offered on a subscription basis: $30 a month, $9 a day, $6 for two hours and $300 for a year.
When you think about the prices for DSL, that seems quite pricey. $30 a month, for the ability to use the Internet for a maximum of 1 1/2 to 2 hours a day (one way). That seems awfully expensive.
There will be a free option, but access will be cut off after 3 1/2 minutes and then users will have to watch 30 seconds of ads before being able to use the Internet again.