Ever since the Digital India Initiative came into existence, the Indian Government has been providing fast wireless Wifi internet services in our railway stations. The connection is named as “Railwire” and can be found on any Wifi enabled device. However, this free high-speed internet service is limited to only A1, A and some B listed railway stations of India.
Railwire Free Wifi Services
The government aims to provide Railwire service in over 600 railway stations of India by March 2018. Furthermore, the government plans to extend this development to all the railway station stations across India by the end of the month March of 2019. As per a report from ET, the estimated cost for this project is around 110 million US dollars.
In 2015, the central government announced the connection of Wifi services in major railway stations of India. This was all under the Digital India initiative. This PPP project was named Railwire, and the responsibility was given to Mini Ratna PSU RailTel Corporation to complete this project in the given estimated time.
In collaboration with Google, Railtel installed free Wifi services in 400 railway stations in India by the end of September 2015. Google’s CEO, Mr Sundar Pichai promised to complete the project by the end of September 2016. However, they failed to do so in the given timeline as only 100 additional railway stations were provided with these Wifi services by the end of the year 2016.
As there were not many multinationals despite Google offering their services. So, despite the timeline fail, Google received another 24 million US dollars project from the Indian government to install another 200 Wifi service hotspots, all across and around the stations of Pune. This was placed all under the small cities project.
As of now, a total of 257 railway stations are provided with the high-speed free Wifi services. Besides these, a total of 161 railway stations are currently under process for installation of Railwire.
Since the project’s initiation RailTel has not even completed providing Wifi services in the A category stations of India. So looking into the pace, that the project is currently functioning forward, the possibility of all the railway stations receiving the free wifi services by the end of 2019 is very slim.
RailTel floated a tender to supply, install and commission of Railwire Wifi in all the A category railway stations of south India. This sums to a total of 27 railway stations in the Telangana, Karnataka, Kerela and AP region. This move from RailTel was a recent one on January 4, 2018.
The plan from RailTel was to provide a host of services under the name Railwire besides offering the basic internet Wifi services in the railway stations. The plan is to provide opportunities for e-banking, e-healthcare, e-governance and various other e-services through Wifi hotspots.
In a meeting a few days back, it was reported that a total of 1200 stations in India are now equipped with free Wifi services. As for the rest of nearly 7300 stations of India, further, development is soon to take place. The main reason for the slow progress is the involvement of private partners like Google as the private corporations are known for self-profit oriented development. This is based o the fact that RailTel has already single-handedly connected nearly 4500 rural towns in India via optical fibres.