Four months after announcing one of the world’s biggest public wifi project ever undertaken, RailTel and Google have finally made it a reality. Mumbai Central has thus become the first railway station, among the 100 selected for this project, to get free Google powered Public WiFi access, 24 x 7.
Google has committed to work with Indian Railways’ and RailTel to expand the network quickly to cover 100 of the busiest stations by end of this year and will eventually roll out the service in 400 railway stations across India.
Even with just the first 100 stations online, this project will make Wi-Fi available to millions of Indians – who pass through railway stations every day, making it the largest public Wi-Fi project in India and among the largest in the world by number of potential users.
Designed to offer users the best Internet experience, Railwire Wi-Fi — a glimpse of which Google also gave us at its Google For India event — will be available to any user who has a working mobile connection on a smartphone. RailTel says, that users will be able to easily stream a high definition videos while they’re waiting, save some videos for offline viewing, download a book or a new game for the journey. And while all that seems pretty lucrative, only time will tell how much of that is actually present there.
Nevertheless, the initiative and the entire commitment shown by both Google and the government is commendable, and much much needed.
Commenting on the launch, Chairman and Managing Director of Railtel R. K. Bahuguna said in a prepared statement,
Our intent was to fulfill Indian Railway’s vision of providing Railway passengers access to high speed Internet through our Optical fiber communication network. Affordable smartphones have made it possible for the common men to experience the power of Internet. With our partnership with Google, we are very confident of rolling out a robust, scalable service at Railway stations in the near future.
Rajan Anandan, Google’s VP for India and South East Asia, said,
We’re delighted to launch India’s first high speed public Wi-Fi service in partnership with Indian Railways. Bringing affordable Internet access to millions of people is an important part of making the Internet both easily accessible and useful for more than 300 million Indians who are already online, and the nearly one billion more who are not.
To access this public wifi, here’s what you need to do :