Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Free Wi-Fi On Greyhound UK Inter-City Services

Icomera, the world's leading provider of cellular broadband gateways, has announced that Greyhound has selected Icomera's award-winning Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway to provide Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS tracking on inter-city coach services in the United Kingdom. Greyhound, owned by Scotland-based transport giant FirstGroup plc, launched direct services from London to Southampton and London to Portsmouth with forty journeys each way, each day. The free Wi-Fi hotspot service will provide passengers with Internet access at speeds up to several megabits per second, using a 3G HSPA network connection from Vodafone. In addition to free Wi-Fi, passengers will benefit from at-seat power sockets, reclining leather seats and complimentary newspapers. Fares start at just £1 plus 50p booking fee. FirstGroup is evaluating plans to roll out new Greyhound UK services from 2010.

"Despite our low fare prices we want to offer our customer the very highest level of amenities on board the new Greyhound services," said Alex Warner, Managing Director of Greyhound UK. "Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly popular on public transport - indeed our research suggests that that Internet connectivity is a high priority for our customers. FirstGroup has installed Icomera's mobile Wi-Fi hotspot technology on many other UK routes, and it has proved popular as well as reliable."

The Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway acts as a bridge between a vehicle and high-speed cellular data networks including 3G/HSPA, EV-DO and WiMAX, providing Wi-Fi access and an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) for connecting on-board systems such as CCTV and passenger information systems. The M200 also has integrated GPS receiver for real-time automatic vehicle location (AVL) via the web-based MoovManage service.

"We're delighted that FirstGroup has selected Icomera to provide the on-board Internet technology for its new Greyhound UK services," said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. "Despite the growth of 3G coverage, passengers will take advantage of free Wi-Fi where it's available, to avoid eating into monthly bandwidth allowances and to reduce the very high costs of data roaming outside the home cellular network."

With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled portable devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and netbooks, free on-board Wi-Fi is rapidly becoming expected by rail, bus and coach passengers, especially on commuter routes and inter-city transport services. All five major UK transport operators - FirstGroup, Stagecoach, Arriva, National Express and Go-Ahead - have deployed Icomera Internet systems on key routes favoured by commuters, students and international travelers, serving over 50,000 Internet connections every week.

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