Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in his Railway Budget today, said that 100 railway stations in India will get access to free WiFi by the end of this year and 400 stations by the end of 2017.
RailTel has partnered with Google for WiFi services in the country. Google CEO Sundar Pichai had promised the same when PM Modi visited the company campus in 2015.
The free public WiFi service has already been launched for Mumbai Central in January, making it the first station in the country to get such a service. The government along with Google plans to implement the facility in 100 stations by 2016. This is in fact the world’s largest free public WiFi project and will benefit a number of people after the service is unveiled for all major stations
A quick recap of how this WiFi service works:
So how exactly will Google’s free Wi-Fi work? Why has it partnered with RailTel?
Railtel is the PSU which owns a Pan-India optic fiber network exclusively on railway track. It has laid out over 45,000 kms of optic fibre networks across the country, which Google will utilise for its Wi-Fi.
Railtel is the ISP, while Google will provide the Wireless Area Networks (WAN).
Will Google have some guidelines, standards for this free public WiFi?
Google says the idea with its free WiFi is to ensure wide coverage and high capacity. Google will try and ensure that the WiFi railway users who watch videos on the network get at least HD standard streaming. Google will also aim to maintain speed, efficiency across a board of devices.
Will the service always be free?
Google says that the service will be free to begin with, although it has not yet specified whether it will eventually charge for this WiFi. It should be noted that free WiFi in other public places like airports is free for a limited time period only.
On the revenue model, Google hopes that this will be self-sustainable and it will start exploring with different revenue models later on.