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Going wireless on planes, trains, and automobiles

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The number of people who use Wi-Fi hot spots is expected to increase 10-fold within the next two years. Providing them is increasingly seen as a way to increase customer satisfaction.

Analysts expect Wi-Fi in motion to be widely available very soon. Airline passengers can use it on several airlines. Rail operators are taking a hard look at it in California, Canada, and Britain where companies are testing or launching their own Wi-Fi services.

On the Altamont Commuter Express between Stockton and San Jose, Calif. the service uses the nearest cellular network for outgoing Web traffic and satellites for incoming traffic. There is a dead zone in a tunnel and in a mountain pass, but users say Wi-Fi makes their commutes more productive.

LimoLiner, a luxury bus service between Boston and New York City, added Wi-Fi last year, hoping to lure business away from air shuttles.

In most cases, the service is slow, but that will change. Verizon is rolling out its Broadband Access network nationally. It's up only in Las Vegas, San Diego, and Washington so far.

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