US technology giant Google has rolled out free public WiFi at 400 Indian railway stations in collaboration with RailTel. The initiative, under Digital India programme began from Mumbai Central station in January 2016, has now been extended to Dibrugarh in Assam, which has now the distinction of becoming the 400th station to avail WiFi facility, according to a Google statement.
Google managed to bring 100 of the busiest railway stations across India online within the first year of the project, which,according to the online search giant, enabled 15,000 people to experience internet for the first time every day. “With over 8 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,” Google India director, partnership, Next Billion Users, K Suri said.
With this success, the project has provided connectivity to millions of unconnected Indians, leveraging on the nationwide optic fibre network backbone created by RailTel, which is the telecom arm of Indian Railways.
K Manohar Raja, executive director (Enterprise Business) at RailTel, commended the achievement that has helped to bridge the experience divide by providing one of the fastest public WiFi networks in the world.
The service, which offers thirty minutes of free access to the internet, saw users consuming about 350 MB of data per session on an average. Majority of the users are stated to belong to the age group of 19-34 years, but efforts to help older, and first time users with ground support staff has helped millions to experience the internet for the first time, the statement added.
Provision of WiFi facility at railway stations is part of Indian Railways’ efforts to offer passengers a world class facility to make their travel experience pleasant, Google’s statement added.