Online on the Rails

November 30, 2010By Heidi EllisonWhat's New Potpourri



France is famous for its excellent high-speed train service, but one high-tech feature has until now been conspicuously absent: the Internet. That will start to change now that a combined Wi-Fi/satellite service is being offered on the TGV Est line on a trial basis before it is rolled out on other lines. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the service is not free. An hour online costs €4.99 with a prepaid card that can be purchased online or in the train’s bar car. The card can also be used for other pay-as-you-go “Box TGV” multimedia services: films, music, adult or children’s games, newspapers, destination guides, etc. Some services are free, while others cost as little as €0.49. On the inaugural run to Nancy for the press last Friday, few of the journalists aboard were able to connect, but that was apparently our fault: the system wasn’t designed for so many users. Let’s give the SNCF the benefit of the doubt and hope they will be able to work out the kinks so we can surf and ride the rails at the same time. Heidi Ellison


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