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Wireless LAN platform for UK rail passengers

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Wireless LAN hot spots are to be created at 15 mainline railway stations across the UK.

The deal between Railtrack and wireless LAN service provider Megabeam follows to successful completion of trials at London's Paddington Station. On August 1, when rules for licensing of paid-for services come into effect, the service will extend to another eight London stations and six regional mainline stations.

These locations are: Waterloo, Kings Cross, Euston, Victoria, London Bridge, Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, Charing Cross, Gatwick, Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds Central, Glasgow Central and Edinburgh Waverley.

The service is based on 802.11b access point from Intel and is targeted at business travellers. Users can buy wireless Internet access using their credit card, but Megabeam expects to sell most of the capacity to corporates through wholesale deals.

Megabeam offers a wholesale wireless LAN (WLAN) access product to telecom operators, laptop vendors and managed service providers for resale to their
corporate customer base. Its services are already live in 20 locations across Europe including Milan airport, Rome airport, and hotels in 18 major business cities across Europe as well as Paddington Station.

Ryan Jarvis, chief executive of Megabeam, told us the price of access at rail stations will be dependent on what additional services, such as VPN access to corporate intranets, on offer. Diplomatically, he declined to answer our query about whether its revenues would be hit by better timekeeping on the railways. ®

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