Icomera AB, the world’s leading provider of cellular broadband gateways, has announced that UK-based Excel Passenger Logistics has selected Icomera’s award-winning Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway to provide Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS tracking on buses and coaches serving British airports. Passengers travelling on Excel ground transport connections to Stansted, Liverpool and Manchester airports will benefit from free hotspot Internet access at broadband speeds up to several megabits per second. The Moovbox gateways will also provide real-time GPS tracking of the vehicles, helping Excel monitor schedule adherence and improve overall service performance. Excel’s ‘airportbycoach’ service offers luxury road transport from Ipswich to Stansted Airport, and between Manchester and Liverpool Airports, the latter operating every hour, 24 hours a day.
“Coach and bus services play an extremely important role in providing travelers with fast and cost effective connections to and from British airports,” said Graham Hayden, Managing Director at Excel Passenger Logistics. “We want passengers to enjoy the very highest level of service and the installation of free Wi-Fi on our fleet is a major part of our offering. For international passengers, the presence of free Wi-Fi avoids expensive data roaming fees that make using 3G connections aboard so unattractive. In terms of reliability, feature set, price point and return on investment, the Icomera product ticked all our boxes when we were researching an on-board Internet solution.”
The Moovbox M200 Mobile Broadband Gateway acts as a bridge between a vehicle and high-speed cellular data networks including 3G/HSPA, EV-DO and WiMAX, providing Wi-Fi access and an Ethernet-based local area network (LAN) for connecting on-board systems such as CCTV and passenger information systems. The M200 also has integrated GPS receiver for real-time automatic vehicle location (AVL) via the web-based MoovManage service.
“Air travelers are used to Wi-Fi hotspots in airports around the world, and Excel have taken this one step further with their decision to deploy free Wi-Fi on their coaches,” said Dave Palmer, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales at Icomera. “Manchester Airport alone serves over one million passengers every year, and by 2030 it’s hoped that coach connections like those run by Excel will attract up to 10% of passenger traffic. Free in-vehicle Wi-Fi service is a great way to encourage people to catch the bus rather than drive by car, and make best use of their journey time by sitting back in comfort and catching up on email, browsing the web and participating in the all-important social networking sites.”
With the proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled portable devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and Blackberry, free on-board Wi-Fi is rapidly becoming expected by passengers, especially on commuter routes and inter-city transport services. All five major UK transport operators – Stagecoach, Arriva, FirstGroup, National Express and Go-Ahead – have deployed Icomera Internet systems on key routes favoured by commuters, students and international travelers, serving over 50,000 Internet connections every week.