Indian Railways and Google has joined forces to create India’s largest network of free WiFi across 400 railway stations, pan India. As per the details obtained, first 30 minutes of this service would enable high speed Internet, after which the speed will drop, but the connection remains active.
This special partnership has been named as ‘Project Nilgiri’; and aims to use Google Fiber technology to provide high speed Internet service.
But the masterstroke which Google has played this time is their partnership with RailTel, to access infrastructure and platform. Indian Railways had announced earlier that they are working on a plan to provide WiFi based Internet across 400 railway stations. But now, the plan looks concrete.
TelecomTalk were the first to report this news, as they shared exclusive screenshots of Project Nilgiri:
An unnamed insider source shared, “The Indian Railways has currently undertaken a pilot project in combination with google under the code name of ‘Project Nilgiri’ under which in phase 1 we will be setting up Wi-Fi hotspots at approximately 400 stations across India over a span of 4 months from now.”
Why Association With RailTel Is A Masterstroke?
RailTel Corporation of India is a public sector unit, having massive access to connectivity and infrastructure. As of now, RailTel’s network passes through 5000 railway stations across India, connecting 63,500 kms of railway track!
RailTel’s optical fiber cable has already been laid across 32,500 kms pan-India; work is in progress for 29,500 kms. As per Wikipedia, RailTel has “state of the art multimedia telecom network using SDH/DWDM-based transmission systems and high end routers for MPLS-IP network.”
And the best part is that, DoT has already allocated 2.7 GHz band to RailTel for launching broadband and other Internet based services.
Google Fiber in India
Last year, we had reported that Google Fiber may enter in India, promising a dream-come-true speed of 1 GBPS, something which is unheard in India.
Reports emerged that Telangana Govt. may roll out Google Fiber services in the state as well.
But the biggest problem is licenses for becoming an ISP in India, and Google may not agree to pay billions of dollars for the same.
However, after their association with RailTel, the licensing problem may be taken care of; and actual broadband along all the railway tracks and railway stations may now be provided.
Existing ISPs in India like Airtel, Tata DoCoMo and Reliance may find this news somewhat disturbing; as Google and RailTel can make some serious inroads with such a huge infrastructure coverage and technology.
This is certainly one of those path-breaking moments for the Indian traveler and Internet user.
Some other major WiFi related news we covered in the past:
- MTS to provide WiFi across urban railway stations
- Delhi Metro will provide WiFi
- Mumbai Metro will provide WiFi
- DoT will provide paid WiFi across 705 locations in 45 cities
- Entire Delhi will be covered by WiFi
- Amazon sets up WiFi zones in Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai
- Mussoorie becomes first hill station to get free WiFi
- Indian Airlines may soon offer in-flight WiFi
- Maharashtra State Transport Buses to get WiFi
- And, a huge list of free WiFi zones across India