Working on the Railroad

In what municipal wireless broadband provider 4G Metro is calling a national first, the company will deliver wireless Internet access and “entertainment” services to passengers riding Trinity Railway Express, a cooperative commuter service between downtown Dallas and Fort Worth, TX and the Dallas Fort Worth airport.

There’s no explicit statement about how this gets paid for, but the LCD screens providing “infotainment” that are part of the deal suggest one revenue stream. Also, the fact that Airpath Wireless’ RoamBoss will be used for provisioning, user authentication, e-commerce and billing suggests another.

So let’s add this up.

You pay your $9 for half an hour of connection while you ride to the airport. Then you pay another $9 to connect to whatever service is offered at the airport (chances are it’s not the same). When you get to your hotel you pay another $9 or $10 to connect in your room. On your return trip you get dinged for these charges again.

Pretty soon, whatever Sprint is charging for EV-DO is looking pretty good. Or, if we’re going to be nickeled-and-dimed, how about in real nickels and dimes instead of five and ten dollar bills? That I could live with.

For more details, you can read the press release.