Inspired By Google, Facebook Will Also Provide WiFi At Railway Stations & Nearby Villages
If Google can do it, why can’t Facebook?
Clearly inspired and pumped up by Google’s successful program to offer WiFi based Internet services across hundreds of railway stations all across India, Facebook has jumped into the fray, and planning something similar.
Just like Google, Facebook has reached out to RailTel in order to provide WiFi based Internet access to railway stations pan-India. However, Facebook has decided to expand their operations, and also include nearby rural areas for providing WiFi services.
RK Bahuguna, chairman of Indian Railways’ communications arm RailTel has confirmed this development, as he said, “Facebook India has approached us for the WiFi initiative. We will engage with the company for the expansion of our Internet access programme across railways stations to cover villages in the vicinity,”
Facebook has recently rolled out rural WiFi across 125 locations after purchasing bandwidth from BSNL, and they are in talks to expand this scheme. It seems their plan to roll out WiFi across railway stations will merge with their rural expansion plan, and collectively, they will provide Internet access to an area upto 25 kms radius.
Bahuguna further said, “Through this (Facebook) initiative, we will be able to offer data services up to a 10-km radius from a connected rail stop, which however can further be increased by up to 25 km via additional access points”
RailTel’s partnership with Google for providing WiFi across railway stations is already a massive hit as 15 lakh users are enjoying high speed Internet across 19 major railway stations as on June, 2016. By the end of 2016, Google is expected to roll out this service across 100 more railway stations.
However, Google is concentrating mainly on urban locations, whereas Facebook is aiming to expand operations across rural locations, in combination with rural railway stations.
RailTel already has laid 32,500 kms of optic fiber cable across 5000 railway stations, and work is in progress for 30,000 kms more. As per Bahuguna, RailTel can extend the WiFi program in association with Facebook to over 40,000 villages, which are situated nearby 4000+ internet ready railway stations across India.
Besides associating with RailTel for providing Internet connectivity, Facebook is also planning to offer Internet via solar drones.
In a related WiFi news, Govt. has indicated that they may soon allow airlines carriers to offer WiFi in flight. As per available reports, a decision would be soon announced within 10 days.
While replying to a question related to WiFi service in-flight, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said, “I will be able to give you good news in 10 days,”
Last year, we had reported that in-flight WiFi within Indian airspace may soon become a possibility, as Indian civil aviation ministry is forming a proposal for the same. The recent comment by Civil Aviation Secretary clearly indicates that Govt. has finally taken a decision.
Interestingly, Jet Airways has already announced that they will soon provide WiFi connectivity for their domestic passengers.
We will keep you updated as more details come in.