21Net, a UK company, says its technology can enable faster bi-directional wireless Internet service on trains than other options: Some other companies offer systems that use the cellular data networks to send data from trains to the Internet. 21Net says that it can use satellite links to support a higher speed service. During trials, four laptops on a train were connected at 700 Kbps each.
Wi-Fi on commuter trips is one place where the business case for fee-based access is pretty clear. There's a captive audience eager to make use of what otherwise might be considered wasted time.
In other satellite-backhaul news, a government IT magazine has more details about the network some troops in Afghanistan set up to improve their Internet access. It sounds like the kind of network the army should be offering troops. The soldiers have also hooked up VoIP phones to the network for far cheaper calling home than the Iridium phones offered by the army.