Amtrak's promise last year of putting Internet service in Acela trains happened quite quickly: For a chronically underfunded government-like operation, Amtrak managed to get Wi-Fi installed fast in its Northeast high-speed Acela line after it said it planned to do so. The service, free for the interim, is in all 20 Acela trains. Amtrak has also made Wi-Fi service free in the six stations that serve Acela, and in Acela lounges. (The Wilmington Station will get unwired when renovations are completed in early 2011.)
Amtrak may wind up using Wi-Fi as yet another tool to bring passengers out of the air and onto the ground. With Wi-Fi at no cost in stations and on trains, the rail operator could use that as a marketing campaign against $7 to $10 per day airport and $5 to 13 per flight airline Internet access, where that's available.
Nomad Digital and GBS Group built the service out. Nomad has a many year history of train-Fi. Nomad and competitor Icomera are responsible for most of the train-based Internet access in the world. A few other firms have disappeared during that time or exited the business.