Media laud Amtrak Wi-Fi upgrade

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  1. Lots of politicos are excited about news news that Amtrak has improved its much-maligned wireless Internet:
  2. Let’s take a wait-and-see approach, however, given the long and tortured history of high hopes:

    January 2010: “Now, Amtrak has officially announced that they will finally begin to provide wireless internet access on trains and that fleet upgrades are planned for the future.”

    March 2010: “Amtrak, which will begin WiFi service on its high-speed Acela Express trains in March, has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for WiFi across its fleet.”

    October 2011: “Wi-Fi service, already available on Acela Express trains, is soft launching on Regional trains as well.”

    November 2011: “Amtrak just announced yesterday that they’ve added WiFi on 12 more east coast routes, bringing the percentage of riders who can access it up to 60%.”

    May 2012: “For rail travelers of the Northeast Corridor, the promise of Wi-Fi has become an infuriating tease.”

    January 2013: “The national railroad, which operates 21,000 route miles, is upgrading its Wi-Fi service to 4G on many routes across the country.”

    The spotty Wi-Fi has become a bit of a joke, especially for reporters trying to get work done between shuttles between New York City and Washington. They will frequently take to Twitter to lament the dysfunctional connections.

    From our piece in 2011:

    “The Wi-Fi NEVER works,” vents Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza, a sentiment seconded by many. Lizza: “Aside from being on a train when Joe Biden doesn’t realize he’s in the quiet car, the most annoying thing is the crappy Wi-Fi.” Green: “The wireless service in Soviet Russia was faster and more reliable.” Bai: “I’m glad Amtrak added Wi-Fi, truly, but what good is a Wi-Fi network that can’t handle video or even Scrabble? Right now, it’s literally unusable.”