Irish company offers free Wi-Fi rollout to Irish Rail

16 Jun 2008

A Wi-Fi company has offered to install public Wi-Fi networks in all Irish trains at no cost to Irish Rail.

Birr-based Airappz has announced it will offer Irish Rail the technology free of charge, negating the rail carrier’s previous main objection to the technology – that it was too expensive.

Airappz has offered to install the equipment and manage the service, requiring no capital investment from Irish Rail.

“Wireless internet access on trains and other methods of public transport have proven their worth,” commented Airappz’s CEO, Evert Bopp. “The availability of these services will entice more people to use these methods of transport. This will lead to increased revenue for the companies providing the transport but it will also lead to fewer cars on the road, which in turn will lead to lower CO2 emissions and less road traffic accidents.

“By also applying our captive portal solution, operators can offer a wide range of value-added services to travellers. Recent studies by the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association) in the US have indicated that in the US, being able to access the internet on-the-go is expected to generate US$860bn in additional gross domestic product in the next decade. I see no reason why similar logic would not apply to Ireland.

“That’s why we have taken the step of offering to install and manage a public Wi-Fi network on Irish Rail trains without any capital investment from its side.”

Airappz was founded last year and has recently finished the first release of its product. It is now involved in building out a network of wireless hotspots and hot-zones across Ireland, which will serve as a proof of concept for its service. After this, it intends to market the service to mobile internet providers across Europe, North America and Asia, which will be preceded by a funding round.

By Niall Byrne