Monday, November 28, 2022 Nov 28, 2022
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Mike Timmins

Thanks to 4G Metro, railway commuters will be able to log on en route.

By Annalise Ghiz |
HIGH-SPEED ACCESS: Thanks to Mike Timmins’ 4G Metro, railway commuters will be able to log on en route.
photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Surfing the internet at 65 miles per hour sounds tricky, but local startup 4G Metro is making it possible to get moving at dual high speeds.

This month, the wireless service company will launch a Wi-Fi network in partnership with the Trinity Railway Express, the commuter train that carries about 5,000 passengers between Dallas and Fort Worth each day. Granbury-based 4G, the first company in the country to sign a contract with a rail system, partnered with Nortel and Colubris Networks to provide end-to-end wireless Internet access and onboard entertainment including, news, weather, sports, and local advertising to be played on 27-inch LCD screens. Commuters with laptops, PDAs, or IP phones can hop online after hopping onboard.

“There are access points every 500 meters on the train lines using Nortel’s mesh system,” says 4G President Mike Timmins. “Every train car is continually connected to the mesh, so passengers can move through the entire network without losing connectivity.”

4G plans to make roaming agreements with different Wi-Fi networks, such as Sprint and AT&T, so users can easily connect while on the TRE. Riders can authenticate and pay through their own network or make use of 4G’s open network, signing up for daily, weekly, or monthly packages. Despite adding significant value, the new service will not affect ticket prices.

TRE previously surveyed passengers about wireless access, and more than 60 percent were in favor of the addition. 4G is now in talks with other rail systems nationwide.

“Not only will the system provide entertainment, but it will also promote productivity on the longer rides,” Timmins says. “Our biggest hope is to bring economic development between the two cities.”

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