Google has successfully completed its public WiFi programme to provide India’s railway stations with free Internet. Google had collaboration with Railtel, declared the launch of free WiFi services at 400 railway stations. Just as a key initiative under the government’s Digital India programme in 2016.
“Bringing high-speed connectivity to millions of Indians across railway stations has been an incredible journey. And underscores the importance of investing in public Wi-Fi as a crucial step in getting high-quality internet to everyone in India,” K. Suri, Director, Partnership India, Next Billion Users, Google India, said in a statement.
“With over eight million monthly unique users connecting to the network. This is a lighthouse project for India. And every growing economy that is looking to bring the benefit of connectivity to everyone in their country,” he added.
Offered as a free utility service under the brand name “RailWire”, users have 30 minutes of free access to the internet. Well, they can on an average consume 350MB of data per session.
“Railway stations are a microcosm that is India and creating a digital inclusion platform is in line with the vision of our Prime Minister. And also, Digital India initiatives of the Ministry of Railways,” said K. Manohar Raja, Executive Director-Enterprise Business at RailTel.
Over 35% of the users on the network are first time WiFi users. Interestingly, over 50% of the users accessing the internet multiple times a day highlight that they work to pursue their occupation from the train stations. Within the first year of the project, 100 of the busiest railway stations across India were made internet-friendly.
In the last year and a half, 300 new stations were added across the length and breadth of the country.
As part of the Next Billion Users initiative, Google is now building on the success of RailTel project to expand the public Wi-Fi outside train stations. Also, in Indian cities, and around the world.
Google Station, the public WiFi platform that expands Google’s sight to bring the best in class WiFi experience to more places. It is also live in Pune. RailTel is exploring sustainable ways to provide WiFi across all stations on Indian Railways. Also, spread high-speed connectivity to homes by the collaborative entrepreneurship model of RailWire.