November 17, 2005 16:19 ET

Parsons to Implement World's Largest On-Board Wireless Network for VIA Rail Canada

PASADENA, Calif.--(CCNMatthews - Nov 17, 2005) -

Parsons announced today its selection by VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) for a five-year contract to provide wireless internet (Wi-Fi) services in their rail stations and first-class lounges and on their train routes throughout their Quebec City-Windsor Ontario Corridor of Canada. Parsons will fund, develop, and operate the system trademarked as Opti-Fi, sharing revenue with VIA Rail once the system becomes profitable.

As the first commercial fleet deployment of its size of on-train Wi-Fi in the world, Parsons is leading this market by enabling 22 stations, all VIA1 and Comfort Class cars, and all seven Panorama lounges with its Wi-Fi service. VIA Rail passengers are now able to browse the Internet, connect to corporate networks, send e-mail, and view streaming video while on the train. Through these passenger offerings, VIA Rail's goal is to increase ridership and revenues, improve overall customer experiences, and maintain their status as Canada's premier transportation entity. In addition, private access offerings will now be possible for VIA Rail, opening the door to services such as e-ticketing, estimated time of arrival (ETA) commentary, boarding music, and GPS (global positioning system) locations of all cars.

"VIA Rail is to be congratulated for taking such an initiative in demonstrating its commitment to provide their customers with a new set of high-quality services, setting them apart as a forward-thinking, world-class transportation company," states Keith Dunbar, Parsons Vice President.

Parsons has already implemented the Wi-Fi service in two stations, five trains, and four Panorama lounges. Fleet deployment is underway and expected to be complete by November 2006.

"Parsons' market leadership in airport Wi-Fi systems and their impeccable track record in large project management, combined with their risk-free revenue model and business flexibility, made them the ideal partner for VIA Rail's Wi-Fi platform," commented Steve Del Bosco, Vice President, Marketing, VIA Rail.

A veteran in transportation services, Parsons and its affiliates are the natural leaders in this new worldwide market for mobile wireless network solutions. Parsons is currently running a similar rail-based Wi-Fi pilot program for Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority in Oakland, California. Parsons intends to deploy similar mobile Wi-Fi networks for other leading rail, bus, and ferry transit authorities throughout North America and the world.

About VIA Rail

As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient, environmentally responsible, and cost effective passenger transportation services, both in Canada's busiest corridor and in remote and rural regions of the country. Serving more than 450 communities with a 14,000-kilometer network of inter-city, transcontinental, and regional trains, demand for rail services continues to grow as more Canadians turn to train travel as a safe and convenient travel choice. Learn more about VIA Rail at

About Parsons

Parsons, with over 60 years of setting industry standards, is a leader in many diversified markets such as transportation, aviation, infrastructure, planning, facilities, industrial processes, communications, water, environmental, and advanced technology. Parsons provides technical and management solutions to private industrial customers worldwide as well as federal, regional, and local government agencies. For more about Parsons, please visit us at

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