A relic of the British colonial era, India’s railway stations are undergoing a transformation. Since 2016, Indian Railways subsidiary RailTel has worked with Google to provide free wifi through a fiber optic network to railway stations across the country. Today, over 250 stations offer wifi to ten million passengers every month.
That number might seem like a drop in the bucket, given that over 23 million passengers travel every day across the stations, but work is in full swing for the joint partnership to offer wifi at 400 stations by March, as confirmed by RailTel chairman and managing director Ashutosh Vasant during a recent conference.
RailTel enables Internet as the ISP through its “RailWire” service via a fiber network. For its part, Google sets up the wireless infrastructure and provides tech support.
The RailWire service is available to any user who has a working mobile connection on a smartphone. It is currently offered free-of-charge for the first hour, but users see a drop in speed during the final 30 minutes of that session.
Trains are the lifeblood of India, and passengers spend an average of at least an hour at train stations, something not overlooked by the RailTel-Google partnership.
Railway stations have been recategorized into three groups to help structure the project – non-suburban (of which there are 5,976 stations), suburban (484 stations) and halt (stations with irregular train service, numbering 2153), for a total of 8613 stations.
But Piyush Goyal, India’s Railway and Coal Minister, recently tweeted about a further effort to extend wifi to 7,000 rural stations......read more on Runwaygirl