Railways claims that RailTel’s RailWire services will be rolled out to provide free internet connectivity across nation.
NEW DELHI: If all goes to plans and promises, Internet will soon be like water at railway stations across the country. The Indian Railways has set itself a target — providing free WiFi at 6,485 railway stations in the next 100 days.
While they have already completed installing WiFi services at 1,603 stations, authorities claim that the balance 4,882 stations will be completed within this stipulated time frame. Previously, Google had launched a similar project that provides free WiFi across 400 railway stations in the country.
Currently, on the Western and Central Railways, 260 railway stations, which includes a majority of Mumbai suburban stations, already have this facility. In the coming days, 245 stations on CR and 281 stations on WR will also have WiFi facilities.
A railway official said, “The IR’s subsidiary RailTel, in a tie-up with Tata Trust, is providing the WiFi under the name RailWire. It focuses on broadband and VPN services to provide free internet connectivity. Only the halt stations where passengers are far and few in between, will not have this facility.”
As per the system, the user will be automatically directed to the RailWire homepage, where they will have to enter their mobile number to get the OTP, which would be sent thereafter. Once the OTP authentication is done, they can use the free WiFi network at a speed of 50 Mbps for up to 30 minutes per day.
To get an estimate of data usage in Mumbai, the Railways measured the consumption in December 2018 and found that 32 lakh people consumed close to 725 TB of data.
Interestingly, the railway officials accept that most of these people use the WiFi for free download of movies, serials, and even adult content. Many of them also reportedly sit along the railway station premises — either on the FOBs, ticket counters or platforms — to avail this facility.
Meanwhile, the railways have also proposed a Digital Railway Corridor that will have 10 Mhz spectrum in 700 Mhz band. This will be used to improve the safety of the running trains and enhance passengers’ interface with railwaymen.