Cablevision Systems is ready to step off the platform and onto the rails by proposing to add its Optimum Wi-Fi service onto Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains. The service would be added at no cost to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), which runs the trains, and would be available within the next 12 months. Cablevision already offers Wi-Fi on train platforms and parking lots at nearly 200 commuter rail stations.
The company's plan is to provide free access to its service for subscribers and "reasonable access" for non-subscribers, according to the proposal. John Bickham, Cablevision's president of cable and communications, said in a news release that the service will "transform the riding experience."
It isn't much of a stretch to call what Cablevision is doing "mobile broadband" since you don't get much more mobile than a train or more broadband than Wi-Fi. It's noteworthy that it comes at the same time that AT&T is struggling with mobile broadband over 3G networks and has flown a "white flag" according to an article in PC Magazine by Sascha Segan headlined, ominously, "The Failure of Mobile Broadband." The article's gist is that the metering system proposed by the wireless provider "pretty much kill(s) the idea of large-screen streaming media" that many had suggested would be an offshoot of mobile broadband.
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