FOR A six-month experimental period Wi-Fi access is being made available to passengers on trains operating at up to 300 km/h between Paris, Bordeaux and Pau. The trial was launched in November by Clic TGV, a joint venture of 11 transport and telecoms firms and content providers.

A total of 15 trainsets have been equipped with radio hubs, webservers and associated communications networks. Wi-Fi access is free of charge for passengers using their own equipment; alternatively portable computers can be hired at a cost of €8 from Cinétrain stalls at departure stations.

Clic TGV is linked to national operators’ GSM networks, and the project forms the first phase in the development of specifications for a wider on-board radio data network. If the six-month trial is successful and proves popular, the service will be extended to other routes.

Following successful tests at Paris Nord, the Wi-Fi Gare project has established local radio networks within Paris Montparnasse, Bordeaux Saint-Jean, Lille Flandres, Lille Europe and Pau stations.

As well as providing public internet access these networks will enable SNCF to transmit real-time train running information and details of local services.

Cinétrain, France

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