RailTel along with Google has deployed WiFi service in 800 railway stations thereby catering to over 8 million monthly unique users.
On the successful completion of the project, K. Suri, Director, Partnership, India, Next Billion Users, Google India said, “With over 8 million monthly unique users connecting to the network, this is a lighthouse project for India and every growing economy that is looking to bring the benefit of connectivity to everyone in their country. We’re thankful to India Railways for their vision and the support from RailTel to deploy a world class public WiFi service – to bring every Indian a fast broadband service so that they can experience the best of the web.”
Providing high speed public Wi-Fi to citizens across 400 train stations was launched as a key initiative under government’s Digital India program by RailTel in partnership with Google. Announced by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, the project has succeeded in its mission of bringing connectivity to millions of unconnected Indians, leveraging on the nation-wide optic fiber network backbone created by RailTel.
Starting from the launch by Minister of Railways at Mumbai Central in January 2016, Google designed and deployed the wireless infrastructure on top of fiber optical network in the station created by RailTel. Offered as a free utility service under the brand name “RailWire” to millions of commuters who travel through stations every day, the service saw instant adoption by users as the project gained scale and momentum.
Within the first year of the project, 100 of the busiest railway stations across India were brought online-enabling 15,000 people to experience the internet for the first time every day. In the last year and a half, 300 new stations were added across the length and breadth of the country, with Dibrugarh becoming the 400th stations to go live today in the state of Assam.
Talking about the project, K. Manohar Raja, Executive Director – Enterprise Business, RailTel said, “As internet is becoming an increasingly video focussed network, majority of Indians access internet on mobile networks with varying experiences and our endeavour has been to bridge the experience divide by providing one of the fastest public wi-fi networks in the world. The statistics of the usage as well as the heart-warming stories we hear has really validated our beliefs on empowering the people by providing high speed internet access”
With thirty minutes of free access to the internet, user on an average consumes 350 MB of data per session.
While majority of the users are in the 19-34 age group, efforts to help older and first time users of the internet with on ground support staff has helped millions of users experience the internet for the first time.