SBB, Swisscom bring mobile broadband to railways

SBB train passengers can now surf the internet at broadband speeds via public wireless LAN on 75 intercity first-class coaches in Switzerland.

Swiss railways SBB has teamed up with incumbent telco Swisscom to launch Switzerland's first mobile hotspots.

Passengers with a WLAN-compatible device (notebook, smartphone, PC card, etc.) have internet access in 75 first-class coaches with business seats at speeds of up to 1Mbps. The 75 train coaches have been equipped with WLAN base stations, which are connected to Swisscom's mobile network.

The companies say that the best speeds are available on the Berne-Zurich line, which is connected to Swisscom's HSPA network.

The coaches with business seats that offer this service are identified by a notebook symbol on the outside of the coach. The seats are usually in Section A, for example, in Zurich and Berne. Customers with a suitable device can simply dial in to the WLAN network.

For Swisscom customers with a mobile phone or DSL subscription, access costs CHF 4 per hour and is billed in 15-minute increments.

Starting 1 April 2008, Swisscom DSL residential customers can use their Swisscom login to surf the internet at all of the more than 1,200 hotspots throughout Switzerland including the mobile train hotspot. Billing is via the Swisscom fixed-line bill. Until 30 September 2008, all Swisscom DSL residential customers will receive one hour of free PWLAN use per month.

(Source: Digital Media Europe)