Dibrugarh becomes the final 400th Station as millions benefit with Google and RailTel’s High speed Public Wi-fi across
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 (a CPSE of Indian Railways) in partnership with Google. Announced by Hon’ble 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 the then Hon’ble 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 15000 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 “Railway stations are a microcosm that is India and creating a digital inclusion platform is in line with the vision of our Honorable Prime Minister and Digital India initiatives of the Ministry of Railways. 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.
Over 35% of users on the network are first time Wi-Fi users. Interestingly, over 50% of users access the internet multiple times in a day-highlights regular usage by users who work of pursue their occupation from the train stations.