Indian Railway’s arm Railtel which provides Internet services as RailWire via its extensive fiber network along with Google today announced the launch of free high-speed public Wi-Fi service at nine new railway stations. After the first launch at Mumbai Central, starting today users in Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Bhopal, Ranchi, Raipur, Vijayawada, Kacheguda (Hyderabad), Ernakulum Jn (Kochi) and Vishakhapatnam will be able to access the network using their smartphones for free. With these launches, Google has now rolled out public Wi-Fi service across ten key railways stations, enabling access to over 1.5 million Indians every day. The service will be formally inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu soon.
The service built over the fiber network of Raitel is designed to offer high speed broadband experience to users. Travelers passing through these stations will now be able to easily stream a high definition video while they’re waiting, research their destination, download a book or a new game for their journey. Google is committed to work with Indian Railways and Railtel to deliver high-speed Wi-Fi network that will be available to 10 million Indians a day by the end of the year, covering 100 of the busiest train stations in India. The project will be eventually rolled out to cover 400 train stations across India.
“The network is now live in ten key stations across the country and we are scaling up our efforts to roll out the network quickly to cover some of smaller stations where connectivity is much more limited. As internet adoption grows in India, easy and affordable access to high-speed networks is the real need of the hour. With 100 stations live, this project will be the largest publicly accessible high speed Wi-Fi network in the country, but our real hope is that this project will set new benchmarks in delivering a reliable and consistent network connectivity in the country,” said Gulzar Azad, Head of Access Project, Google India.
Commenting on the launch, Chairman and Managing Director of Railtel Shri R. K. Bahuguna said, “As outlined by the Hon’ble minister Shri Suresh Prabhu – modernising and improving the amenities available to passengers of Indian Railways is big part of our focus. And we are very proud to say that Indian Railways has taken the lead to offer the best Wi-Fi network experience available to passengers today in the country. And while the service will be free for a reasonable amount of time, our long-term goal is to make this project self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and places, with RailTel and other partners, in the future.”