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Eurostar preps Wi-Fi train trial

But not through the chunnel

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Eurostar, the company that runs rail services through the Channel Tunnel, will offer passengers Wi-Fi Internet access later this year.

The move follows similar trial runs carried out by UK mainland train operators GNER and Virgin. However, unlike those services, Eurostar is believed to be considering offering the facility to all passengers, not just those travelling in First Class coaches.

Internet access will initially be offered as a trial which will commence after Eurostar begins a rolling stock refurbishment programme this summer. The project will cover all 27 of the company's trains.

Eurostar hopes the refurb will help win back passengers who have been tempted by no-frills airlines.

There's a flaw, however: Internet access will only be available while the train is travelling overground. According to a company spokesman, cited by Mobile Commerce World, Eurostar will use satellite technology to connect the train to the Net. GNER uses a similar system, with back-up multiple GSM mobile phone links in place to maintain connections when trains pass under short tunnels and station roofs. Such links are of little help to a train passing through a 40km (23 mile) tunnel. ®

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