Hands-on Technology Review of UK Inter-city Coach Services with Free Wi-Fi

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Coach travel in the UK is enjoying a resurgence as travelers look for more cost effective ways to travel around the UK. This increase in coach travel has become a technology playground for passengers as the coach transport industry rolls out services like free WiFi, at seat power, onboard toilets and even complimentary newspapers and roomier leather seats on some routes. But just how practicable and useable are these onboard WiFi services that are core to the new service offerings? Technology blogger and IT consultant Richard Gough finds out by carrying out some onboard tests.

In September 2009 both National Express and the iconic Greyhound brand of Americana fame established fast regular and cheap routes to Portsmouth and Southampton with both companies offering onboard WiFi and power sockets to lure business, student and regular passengers alike. The big winner so far in this battle for our coach travel miles appears to be the mobile WiFi technology company Icomera, the world's leading provider of cellular broadband gateways. With the proliferation of WiFi enabled portable devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry and netbooks, free on-board Wi-Fi is rapidly becoming expected by rail, bus and coach passengers, especially on commuter routes and inter-city transport services. So just how good is this technology? To test it first hand the technology blog writer and IT consultant Richard Gough travelled from London to Portsmouth and back on the new Greyhound UK service to test their onboard WiFi service offering first hand.

The findings of these onboard tests found the speed of Wi-Fi service provided is certainly useable but reliability was dependent on the data network provider and their network coverage along the route.
Onboard Wi-Fi is clearly proving to be a popular service for coach travelers and in todays always conected society it makes for a logical marketing and service provision offering for the highly competitive UK inter-city routes. However, coach route providers also need to ensure that this provision of technology forms part of the whole travel package and therefore maintain and deliver a consistent Wi-Fi service on every trip they advertise it on. Likewise, they need to make sure their customers are aware of limitations of the WiFi service along their routes and if it is actually working by empowering their drivers to supply this information as needed.

The full report and test details can be read at richardgough.com


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