Yup, looks like Sundar Pichai’s announcement of providing over 400 railway stations in India with high-speed public wi-fi will see the light of the day this October itself. And the first railway station to get that high-speed, fibre optic service is none other than Mumbai Central, one of India’s largest stations in terms of number of commuters.
The public Wi-Fi scheme, announced by Pichai during PM Modi’s Digital India dinner in California last week, will give users free access to the wi-fi systems for half an hour, post which users will be charge a nominal fee for usage.
Google, which announced the partnership with RailTel corporation last Sunday, is also working with Railways to monetise this model, which is set to help World’s 9th largest employer balance its mounting losses every year.
Google will begin the work at Mumbai Central next month and the service is expected to be ready for public use by mid-October, A Seshagiri Rao, director-network planning & marketing at RailTel, told Economic Times.
Rao said in a statement,
The focus is to provide seamless Internet connection. Once we have seamless and uniform service, a revenue model can evolve.
Rao further detailed that RailTel is providing its massive infrastructure that comprises fibre connected with its MPLS network to Google, which will provide Wi-Fi access through their radio access points at all the platforms.
We have got fibre drop at all the railways station along with electronics. Being a pan-India operator, RailTel will offer ready availability of passive infrastructure at all the railway station,
RailTel, if you are not aware, is one of Indian Railways’s many subsidiaries, working and maintaining all of Railways’ telecommunications networks. RailTel has built a gargantuan 45,000 km of optic fibre network across the railways network in India, connecting over 4,500 cities and towns and over 5,000 railway stations in the country — making it one of the largest such network globally.