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North Carolina DOT Piedmont Service Launches Passenger Wi-Fi Services Featuring ViaSat Managed Wi-Fi Technology

May 22, 2015

ViaSat Inc.  announced the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division (NCDOT) has deployed ViaSat's managed Wi-Fi® services on its Piedmont passenger trains to ensure complete wireless internet services to passengers traveling between Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina. A free Wi-Fi service is now offered to all passengers and officially launches on the 20th anniversary of the Piedmont railway.  Passengers will have non-stop access to surf the web, check and respond to email, engage in social media and stay connected while traveling on the 174 mile corridor.

The NCDOT is modernizing the Piedmont corridor through a series of projects and enhancements known as the Piedmont Improvement Program, or PIP. The focus of PIP is to make train travel safer, more reliable and better connected. By deploying free Wi-Fi as a standard service on its trains, NCDOT is establishing itself as a technological leader and innovator in the rail industry. The new Wi-Fi service will enhance the overall quality of experience for passengers, potentially increase ridership due to the availability of Wi-Fi and provide extra layers of railway safety in the future by supporting train control and monitoring systems.

"The railways are an important part of our national transportation system, and ensuring passenger safety, efficiency and connectivity on the Piedmont line will lead to economic opportunities for the regions of Raleigh and Charlotte and the cities, towns and communities in between," said Paul Worley, railway division director, North Carolina Department of Transportation. "We see a growing trend in ridership on regional trains like the Piedmont, with over 300 passengers a day. We believe by deploying new Wi-Fi services we can increase existing passenger satisfaction and attract new customers."

ViaSat worked extensively on the network design to engineer complete coverage of the Piedmont rail corridor, ensuring uninterrupted Wi-Fi services to passengers and easy management of train configurations by NCDOT.  ViaSat managed Wi-Fi services include end-to-end management of Wi-Fi networks from network design, installation and reporting to monitoring and end-user support via the system's cloud-based TRACKOS® software.

"We understand how to bring best-in-class internet access to the transportation sector," said Cody Catalena, vice president and general manager, Wireless Services, ViaSat. "Specific to Piedmont, we leveraged our experience in delivering managed Wi-Fi across multiple industries and platforms to ensure this launch in the rail industry would be a success. We have the expertise and technology required to deliver passenger Wi-Fi services on trains anywhere in the world, in order to keep passengers connected."