Free WiFi In Trains, Railway Stations Will End? TRAI Stops Railways From Spectrum’s Commercial Usage
The regulatory body of telecom of India is now planning to allow the usage of spectrum for the Indian Railways only for captive use. Commercial use of spectrum will not be allowed anymore for the Indian Railways.
In fact, TRAI has recommended DoT not to give the national transporter any frequency for commercial use.
Does this mean that wifi will not be available in railways anymore? Let’s find out!
TRAI Says No Spectrum For Indian Railways for Commercial Use
Back in 2016, Google had partnered up with Railtel to provide free Wifi to passengers, and about 15 lakh passengers enjoyed the free internet across 19 railway stations. This initiative later was projected on a larger basis, as the numbers went up to 400 railway stations 50 lakh passengers connected to it. Last heard, wifi connectivity was opened up at 4791 stations, with 2.3 crore people using the wifi!
As per TRAI, the railways would be using the spectrum allotted for its tracks and stations only, and hence, DoT should try to look over the possibility of allocating the same spectrum in other areas for area-specific limited use to some other entities who can use it for captive use.
TRAI also said that if any such application of the spectrum is done, a definite check should be done so that it doesn’t interfere with the railway’s network.
TRAI issued a statement, wherein it specified, “Spectrum may be assigned to Indian Railways on administrative basis for captive use only and not to offer any commercial services such as Wi-Fi onboard.”
Spectrum To Be Auctioned Off In March By TRAI
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India specified that of the 35 MHz paired spectrum that is available in 700 MHz band, there will be 5 MHz paired spectrum allocated to Indian Railways for implementing for MC PTT (Mission Critical Push To Talk), Voice, Internet of Things based asset monitoring services, passenger information display system and live feed of Video Surveillance of few coaches at a time.
TRAI has also specified that the rest of the spectrum, which is 30 MHz can be put to auction, which will be conducted in March. The regulatory body also said that 1.6 MHz of 900 Mhz band spectrum which has already been allotted to the Indian Railways will be withdrawn, when migrated to the LTE based network.
We’ll keep you informed as we get more updates!