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BART/CCJPA to Trial Broadband on Trains

BART/Capitol Corridor Joint PowersAuthority (CCJPA), the manager of the Capitol Corridor intercity passenger train, have selected four proposers to help them take the next big step toward providing fast mobile broadband services on trains.

Bandwidth intensive applications that will be tested via the limited trial networks include Internet, email, Virtual Private Network (VPN) access, video downloads and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to their riders�laptops, PDAs and cell phones, all available while the Capitol Corridor train is moving at full speed between Auburn and San Jose.

Results of the initial technical trials will lead toward a fast-track procurement of a system-wide network, a process that is being watched by passenger rail providers around the world. A Request for Information (RFI) was released by CCJPA on March 23, 2006 tha tasked the wireless industry to offer their best ideas and concepts. Eleven proposals were received and four were selected to participate in the tests.

CCJPA believes these technical trials will demonstrate the technical feasibility and cost effectiveness of a broadband network along the railway that can support bandwidth intensive, real-time applications. Wi-Fi will provide connectivity within the train to riders, train staff and remote devices. Wi-Fi traffic will be backhauled to base stations along the tracks or via satellite.

CCJPA will work with the proposers to install and test their own networks and equipment, at their own expense, on sections suitable for testing along Capitol Corridor�s 171 miles service area. CCJPA will supply rail cars for the equipment (working with Caltrans, the owner of the rail equipment), room in the various stations for more equipment and collaborate to ensure that their needs for the technical trials are met. The trials will be conducted through December 2006.

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