Comcast to provide free wifi at PATCO stations

Waiting for the next PATCO train is about to become a bit more tolerable for web addicts. At the Delaware River Port Authority Operations & Management Committee meeting this morning, PATCO staff presented a deal to have Comcast provide passengers free wifi coverage at train platforms and waiting areas.

If the DRPA board approves the arrangement at its upcoming meeting scheduled January 21st, installation could start as soon as March and the system should be online by the Fourth of July. 

The wifi wouldn’t just be free for the passengers – PATCO is paying Comcast nothing in the deal. The cable giant’s only remuneration is some free marketing for its XFINITY internet services. The network name will be “xfinitywifi” and the sign-in page will feature Comcast branding alongside PATCO’s. PATCO will also provide signs promoting the service, meaning passengers can expect plenty of “waiting for an infinity, passing time with xfinity” comments from impatient cads about six months from now. 

Under the proposed arrangement, Comcast will do most of the work and incur almost all of the expenses. “Comcast would put up and pay for all the infrastructure improvements,” said PATCO General Manager John Rinck. The Philadelphia-based conglomerate will also provide 24/7 customer support, monitoring and repair services. The system will use existing PATCO dark fiber between the stations, but the remainder of the hardware will be installed by Comcast. The proposed contract would be for 10 years, with options to renew.

Comcast subscribers will sign in using their user name and password, whereas non-subscribers will need to provide an email address and accept Comcast’s terms and conditions.

PATCO is joining SEPTA and NJ Transit in having their stations wifi coverage provided by Comcast.

PATCO approached Verizon about making an alternative proposal, but they declined to do so. 

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