Amtrak upgrading to 4G in 2013

The WiFi on Amtrak is going to get a little faster in 2013. Amtrak is upgrading its WiFi to 4G on routes across the country this year, beginning with Acela routes traveling between Washington and Boston. 

All 20 of Amtrak’s Acela train sets are already in some stage of having the hardware and software necessary for the upgrade installed. While the status varies from train set to train set, some trains already have the WiFi ready to go available*, said Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm. So if a rider is on one of those trains and is in an area with 4G service, he can take the improved WiFi for a spin.

All of the Acela trains should have the 4G upgrade completed in the spring, Kulm said. 

Once Amtrak officials are sure the service is working, they will begin upgrading some other trains with WiFi capabilities. Those includes Northeast Regional trains as well as trains elsewhere in the country.

“It is something we are currently working on and hope to get it done as soon as we can,” Kulm said.

Amtrak first added WiFi to its trains in 2010. The train agency reports that this WiFi, known as AmtrakConnect, supports between 30 and 50 percent of passengers on a given train. 

That’s not the only change coming to Acela travel. Amtrak plans to add another pair of Acela routes between New York and Washington later this month.

* – This post has been updated. Kulm wanted to stress that while the 4G WiFi is available on some trains, it’s still being tested and not considered completely ready. 

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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