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High-speed web for 300kph TGV

SNCF will begin internet service on TGV Est lines before network roll-out in 2011

TRAVELLERS on TGVs will soon be able to use high-speed internet connections while travelling at 300kph.

The SNCF is to begin offering wireless internet on TGV Est trains from the end of November, with other lines following throughout 2011.

The TGV Est has been carrying out experiments with the technology since 2007. Users will be able to pay for internet access, games and other multimedia contents provided by the rail company.

The connection will be maintained via a satellite onboard the train. Prices for the service have yet to be announced, but options could range from e2.5 for an hour to e6 for four hours, or monthly contracts.

The SNCF has defended itself against claims that ticket prices on the high-speed train had risen at twice the rate of inflation.

The stories came after a audit was published in several French newspapers. It showed that the SNCF’s profit per passenger per kilometre on TGVs had risen 26 per cent since 2002, twice the rate of inflation.

A statement from the company said the rise did not reflect an increase in the cost of standard tickets. The increased profit had come from international journeys and first-class tickets. The number of people travelling in first class has risen 80 per cent since 2002, compared with 38 per cent in standard.

The SNCF claims the average price of a ticket is e44, compared to €38 in 2002, cheaper than other high-speed lines in Europe.

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