RailTel introduces Wi-Fi service at Bangalore Railway station; What about the others?

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Free Wi-Fi service has been introduced at Bangalore City railway station, as reported by RailNews. Commuters can access the Wi-Fi network on their mobile phones. It’s free for the first 30 minutes, after which they would have to purchase extra browsing time online using a credit card or buy a scratch card at the Wi-Fi helpdesk at the station. For 30 minutes of extra browsing time commuters will have to pay Rs 25 and for 1 hour the price is Rs 35, and these are valid for 24 hours.

RailTel Corporation of India’s broadband distribution model, RailWire is providing this service. The report says that similar Wi-Fi facility will be introduced at other A1 & A category stations soon, though it’s not clear exactly when this is scheduled to be implemented. Apparently, Connaught Place in Delhi, Dadar and CST in Mumbai, and Thane stations are on the list of stations to get this service.

India’s Railways Minister D.V.Sadananda Gowda had announced plans to provide Wi-Fi at railway stations, as a part of the Railway Budget 2014. The Indian Railways had also proposed to set up Wi-Fi networks at A1 & A category stations, in August this year. At the time it was said that RailTel would provide the service through independent internet service providers (ISPs), with no investment on part of the Railways. It’s not clear if RailTel has tied-up with any ISP for the Wi-Fi service at Bangalore City railway station.

Back in 2006, the then RailTel AGM (Business Development & Public Relations) Shailesh Tiwari had told that it plans to create Wi-Fi hotspots in 500 stations and also extend the service to the neighbouring areas, in an interview. Eight years have passed but next to no progress on this front.

Only Pilots? When Will The Full Service Be Launched?

Indian Railways had launched free Wi-Fi service at the New Delhi railway station, back in July 2013. It had also rolled out Wi-Fi facility in 3 rakes of Howrah-New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express as a pilot project, in April 2013 after initially announcing it in February 2011. Other pilot projects include Wi-Fi on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express and Chennai- Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi Express, both in 2009. Pilot projects come and go, but each time at the wider implementation stage things seem to take forever.