Modi pushes for WiFi in more trains

For using the internet, passenger gets a WiFi password by sending PNR through the registered mobile number.

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Updated: July 7, 2014 1:28 am
It is the concept of unclogging India. Sources said Modi shot down the ministry’s objection to expanding the service and insisted that the facility be extended to other trains and that the service be kept free of charge.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the Railways to extend free WiFi internet facility on at least a dozen long-distance trains even though the Railway Ministry has suggested that this facility be discontinued because of negative returns.

At a meeting earlier this month, the ministry informed Modi that the cost of providing WiFi internet on proposed 50 rakes or trains was estimated at nearly Rs 100 crore because each satellite communication dish costs Rs 1.5 crore with an annual licence fee of Rs 50 lakh each dish.

Moreover, it said there were not many users of this facility which was launched as a pilot project on New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express in April 2013. Only about one-fourth of the passengers were opting for this service.

Its alternative suggestion was that free wireless internet connectivity be provided at rail platforms as this would not require satcoms and hence would be cheaper. Another option was to charge the passengers for the internet usage during the journey.

However, sources said Modi shot down the ministry’s objection to expanding the service and insisted that the facility be extended to other trains and that the service be kept free of charge.

Given the resource crunch of the Indian Railways, officials said the ministry was working on the number of trains which could be covered to provide the facility for announcement in the NDA’s maiden Rail Budget, to be presented Tuesday.

Priority would be given to Rajdhani and Shatabdi express trains, they said.

Initially, 4 Mbps download bandwidth and 512 Kbps upload bandwidth is earmarked for internet facility in moving train. For accessing the internet, passenger gets a WiFi password by sending his PNR number through the registered mobile number.

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  1. D
    Oct 21, 2014 at 2:38 am
    Now days most of people who want to use Internet, have mobile Internet, we need may other facilities before such facility.
  2. G
    Jul 7, 2014 at 6:19 am
    those who need internet connectivity on the move, will have wireless internet SIMs on their devices. who really needs free wi-fi? unnecessarily increasing expenses on top of the line services that are not required instead of bolstering baseline services such as water, cleanliness, food and running on schedule.
  3. G
    Jul 7, 2014 at 6:45 am
    The only reason you & I are able to comment on this post is because the govt before did not wait for toilets to be built before investing in internet.So this argument of "first" improving toilet facilities and then internet is invalid. The department that is responsible for connectivity isn't the one responsible for toilets. Both are necessaryternet connectivity would ensure that work gets done even sitting in the train. It improves productivity of an average Indian.
  4. H
    Harpreet Dhillon
    Jul 8, 2014 at 10:47 pm
    How many people can use a 4Mbps Wifi connection without drastically affecting other users?Hardly 3 or 4.
  5. H
    Harpreet Dhillon
    Jul 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm
    What happens when any user decides to watch Y0uTube, or download files via uT0rrent over the same 4Mbps connection?The connection stops for other users, and they are better off if they switch to their own GPRS mobile internet.
  6. J
    Jul 7, 2014 at 7:16 am
    i think this idea is not good of providing wifi facality on trains and or any transportation.
  7. K
    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:57 pm
    Why Modi government also on the route of unnecessary and pomp schemes like bullet trains, Wifi etc without bare necessities like fresh water,clean bogies, neat platforms etc.why useless waste and show? leaders should hear the public view and act accordingly
  8. M
    Jul 7, 2014 at 9:38 am
    plz understand the requirement.. plz provide us clean toilets in the train irrespective of the cl we travel.. wifi is at a latter stage.......
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