Passengers traveling via the Oxford Tube from Stagecoach Group, which runs between Oxford and London, can now get their e-mail and Web surfing on. Ruggedized Wi-Fi equipment (the Moovbox M Series) from Moovera Networks has been installed on the 25 buses in the fleet, using 3G — HSDPA (High Speed Download Packet Access) tech — from Vodafone UK as backhaul.
The service was tested on the buses for three months, during which time they claim 7,000 registered passengers used it 32,000 times — it’s free. Average time online was 41 minutes.
Oxford Tube buses run between the cities 24/7/365. They claim that passengers have switched from taking the train to the bus in order to get the Wi-Fi Internet access. The Moovbox equipment also provides an Internet link for the CCTV monitoring camera on the bus, and has global positioning system (GPS) tracking so Stagecoach can keep tabs on its vehicles.
Moovera purchased the MSystem product line from Telabria in December 2006 when the latter went tits-up (as the Brits say) and was forced to also sell its SoBroadband services to OrbitalNet Ltd. Moovera’s founder and CEO is Jim Baker, who was also the founder of Telabria.
Of course, passengers on a London bus won’t be the only folks who can get Wi-Fi access soon, though it won’t be free: The Inquirer says that The Cloud is finally ready to install mesh equipment to unwire the entire city. Standard cost will be about £12 ($24, give or take) per month for unlimited access. To start, they’ll only cover from the City to Soho.