Over the last three and a half years of writing here, one of the recurring topics has focused on Internet access or lack thereof on the region’s commuter rail lines. The MTA has been engaged in a never-ending attempt to wire its underground subway system for basic cell service, and Sen. Chuck Schumer has called for wireless access on the MTA’s commuter rails. It truly is a matter of economics and productivity because people with Internet don’t suffer through time lost to commuting. Maybe people can spend more time with their families because they can get work done on their rides into and out of work. Still the efforts continue with no real end in sight.
Earlier this week, though, Amtrak kinda sorta joined the wireless fray. The national rail carrier announced wireless internet access for Acela Express passengers this week. Access is free on board all Acela Express trains, in stations in D.C, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Westwood, Massachusetts and in all ClubAcela lounges. Unfortunately, Amtrak says it won’t be extending access to its non-Acela trains in the near future. For a country so obsessed with productivity, the lack of non-phone carrier Internet access along our train lines is a technological step backward.