Euro trains gets broadband internet
Thalys promises gaming and video-on-demand too
Thalys will introduce broadband internet access to passengers travelling between Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne by 2008, the company announced today. It will be the first international high-speed train to provide this service across European borders.
Thalys has selected Nokia Siemens Networks, UK based 21Net and Telenet (Belgium) to implement broadband internet access on board its high-speed trains. The consortium will combine satellite, GPRS and UMTS technologies with wireless networks such as Wi-fi to provide a continuous connection, even at top speeds of 300 km/h.
Nokia Siemens Networks will be responsible for the entire project management, as well for leasing bandwidth along the train routes and the antennas. 21Net implements and manages the bi-directional satellite connectivity, while Telenet will operate the internet services. 21Net already successfully demonstrated its satellite technology in July 2004 on two occasions, on board a 300km/hour train from the Spanish operator Renfe.
A trial will start this month, using bi-directional satellite-based internet access, with a network of access points available in every Comfort 1 and Comfort 2 carriage, both of which are already equipped with electricity outlets for laptops. Depending on coverage, the system can switch from GPRS/UMTS to satellite, even in tunnels.
The first Thalys trains equipped with this technology will run commercially from Autumn 2007. No prices have been announced yet, but Thalys says the service will be similar to Internet access delivered in hotels, bars, airports and train stations. The company will introduce gaming and video-on-demand too.®
Still in mourning
...for Lufthansa's trans-Atlantic in-air WiFi, which was tragically ended in 2006. It was not perfect, but made being stuck in economy class for 10 hours a little less painful, which was worth the extra ticket cost over flying United (well, that and the drinks and somewhat improved vegetarian food).
It seems like 10 USD/EUR is about the impluse-buy point on net access for trips over 2 hours, and would make me more likely to choose to ride DB/Thalys over flying one of the many cheap airlines with whatever food I can grab in the terminal.
No doubt it will get priced so highly its hardly worth bothering with.
Why don't they just make it ludicrously cheap (eg £2 per journey/ or in with the ticket) and block all incoming ports (unless 'related' or 'existing') and only allow outgoing ports 80, 443 with a local DNS?
At present a lot of these public wifi hotspots have port 53 open anywhere to allow use of a public dns server - but this means you can just tunnel an SSH session over it without having to pay for the connnection! This is silly!
Couldn't they try a PLC connection as well?