Amtrak is looking into upgrading on-board Internet service

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Amtrak is looking into ways it can improve the Wi-Fi Internet service that it offers on its trains, though the upgrades would be specific to trains that run between Boston and Washington DC, the nation’s capital.

Amtrak has expressed interest in building a wireless network that would run alongside the entirety of the rail operator’s Northeast Corridor tracks, which spans 457 files. The company is currently accepting bids from contractors, and aims to increase bandwidth from 10 Mbps to at least 25 Mbps. However, the proposals themselves need to demonstrate that such a project is a realistic prospect from both a financial as well as a technical standpoint.

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

The Wi-Fi service built into Amtrak trains has a reputation for being very poor, and customers are often unable to connect. Even when they are able to get online via an Amtrak Wi-Fi network, service is often slow, so performing tasks like streaming videos or playing games is often out of the question.

If a proposal were to be accepted, such a project would likely take years before it is completed. By then, even more people will be online, and the demands of customers will likely be even greater. 

Just think: wait until 4K streaming gets really widespread.

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