Last year, Google had promised that they will provide free WiFi connectivity across 400 Railway Stations pan-India. Taking the first step towards fulfilling this promise, Google has rolled out free WiFi connectivity at Mumbai Central railway station starting today.
As per Google, they will cover 100 railway stations by the end of 2016, with the goal of providing the same high speed WiFi connectivity across 400 stations across India. As per estimates, this massive plan to provide free WiFi at Railway stations will cover 10 million Indians.
In fact, we had even shared some images of the interface which would be used by passengers to access this service. As per reports, WiFi would be free for first 30 minutes, after which a nominal charge would be incurred. However, other set of reports inform us that Google will ensure HD quality streaming of videos on this WiFi network, which will be certainly a first for several Indians.
Further details about the expenses are awaited.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google has already shared his vision of connecting 100 million Indians with free Internet; and this is their first step towards this goal.
Google South East Asia and India VP & Managing Director Rajan Anandan said in a statement, “We are delighted to launch India’s first high-speed public Wi-Fi service in partnership with Indian Railways. By end of this year, over 10 million people will be able to enjoy this experience at 100 stations spread across the country,”
Meanwhile, Google has said that the launch of this service at Mumbai Central will cover both the local station and main Western Railway station which caters to long distance trains. Apparently, the WiFi hub has been created inside the railway station premises as of now, but not within the trains.
Google India Head of Access Project Gulzar Azad said, “This network will extend to cover both long-distance train station and the local train station in Mumbai Central. The next four stations we’ll bring online will be Allahabad, Patna, Jaipur and Ranchi and others will follow very shortly,”
Google’s Masterstroke: Collaboration With RailTel
In order to successfully launch WiFi across 400 railway stations, Google has partnered with RailTel, which is a public sector unit of Indian Railways responsible for connecting all railway stations with optical fibers. As of today, Railtel has successfully connected 5000 railways stations covering 63,500 kms of railway tracks.
In fact, RailTel has laid 32,500 kms of optic fiber cable pan-India, and work is currently going on to lay 29,500 kms of optical fiber in remote locations. Interestingly, Department of Telecom has already allocated 2.7GHz band to RailTel for launching WiFi, broadband and other Internet related services in India.
During the launch of free WiFi at Mumbai Central station, Railtel Chairman and MD R.K. Bahuguna said, “Affordable smartphones have made it possible for the common man to experience the power of Internet. With our partnership with Google, we are very confident of rolling out a robust, scalable service at railway stations in the near future,”
If you are using Google’s Free WiFi at Mumbai Central station, then do share your experience by commenting right here!
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