Shinkansen 'Bullet Train' Goes Internet
Friday, June 30, 2006 Posted: 12:14 PM JST
Last Thursday when I raced from Tokyo to Osaka in the Shinkansen 'Bullet Train' I wondered once again why the trains still don't offer a wireless connection to the Internet. It turns out that I was not the only person who wondered about that. Central Japan Railway (JR Tokai) has decided to offer wireless Internet service on all the N700-series trains from early 2009. I can't wait! The 515 kilometers between Tokyo and Osaka takes almost 2.5 hours. You can do a lot of work in that time span.
The communications system will feed off a leaky coaxial cable running alongside the train tracks. Wireless LAN base stations in each car will deliver the Internet service to passengers. No decision has yet been made about charges and service providers.
The new system won't only benefit passengers. It will also allow the driver and the guard of the train to simultaneously talk with each other and other employees outside the train. This will be extremely useful during emergencies or when urgent problems must be solved.
* * *