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King County, WA brings 4G LTE Wi-Fi to RapidRide bus riders using Cradlepoint


Public transportation that utilizes mobile broadband gives passengers the option to be connected on the go 

An article in StateTech magazine (“Governments Roll Out Wi-Fi in Libraries, Buses and Parks”) describes how King County, Washington is using Cradlepoint devices to deliver 4G LTE Wi-Fi to passengers on 117 of its 60-foot RapidRide line buses—and using our Enterprise Cloud Management solution to remotely manage the devices.

According to Greg Debo, the King County IT project manager quoted in the story, nearly 80 percent of King County RapidRide passengers have a mobile device of some kind. “We service an area that includes Seattle, Redmond, and Bellevue [the center of the Microsoft campus], so there’s no question that it’s a service that a lot of people are taking advantage of,” says Debo. “Whether it’s just to socialize or check work email, now people can use the time they ride on the bus more productively.”

And riders have appreciated the Wi-Fi access. Debo says the number of Wi-Fi connections being used by passengers increased from 500 in June 2013 to an estimated 6,000 by the end of the year. This increase is due, Debo says, to both the rollout of Wi-Fi to more buses throughout 2013, and to increased passenger use of Wi-Fi. A single Cradlepoint device with the latest firmware, Debo says, enables up to 64 simultaneous Wi-Fi connections to Verizon’s 4G LTE network on each bus.

Debo says that Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager “let’s the King County IT team remotely implement hot fixes, patches, and configuration changes to the device on each bus, and to monitor the Wi-Fi network to ensure there’s no interference.”

Cradlepoint also helped the police department here in Boise implement a new wireless broadband solution for its fleet of patrol cars that has dramatically reduced officer travel time, allowing them to spend more time serving the community. We also helped school districts in Eastern Washington, North Kansas, and South Texas equip mobile broadband on their school buses. Cradlepoint technology has enabled these districts to quickly and easily create “rolling study halls” with transportation connectivity solutions that help students maximize their time while on longer road trips and commutes to off-campus classes.

As Raleigh, NC CIO Gail Roper summed up the growth of wireless in the StateTech article, “Wi-Fi has become the new norm. People just expect to have it, like a utility.” And it is a utility they expect to be able to access whether sitting in an office or rolling down the highway.

Learn more about Cradlepoint’s wireless broadband solutions for transportation.