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Moving, but not at the speed of light

SEPTA passengers can now connect to wireless Internet hot spots at Market East and Suburban stations, but it may be a while before the Digital Age reaches the train.

SEPTA passengers can now connect to wireless Internet hot spots at Market East and Suburban stations, but it may be a while before the Digital Age reaches the train.

Last week, Metro reported that free high-speed service was available at the two Regional Rail stations thanks to a partnership with Comcast, which could expand to three additional stations next year. SEPTA hopes to do the same on the train, a feature currently offered by more than a dozen transit authorities, including Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

“We’re very active in exploring it and testing it right now, but we’re not going to know specifics in terms of when ... it’s going to be done,” SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said. He noted that once testing is complete, officials can determine how much it will cost and a timeline for the installation.

Passengers, especially younger riders, are anxious for the feature.

“We were disappointed that when the specs for the Silverliner V’s were originally made up that [SEPTA] hadn’t included that then,” said rider advocate Matthew Mitchell of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers. “But at that point getting wireless on the trains was fairly new ... now it’s becoming more widespread.”

Busch said SEPTA is committed to getting the project done.

“It’s not years [away], but we couldn’t put a firm date on it as this point, but it’s something we’re looking at getting done,” he said. “We wouldn’t want to rush it for the sake of meeting a deadline.”

 
 
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