Indian Railways Will Not Stop Free WiFi Across 5600 Railways Stations, But Google Quits The Program
Yesterday, Google announced that they will quit the project called ‘Station’, wherein free WiFi was provided at railway stations across India.
This caused a sort of panic among Indian Railways passengers, who had been using free WiFi at almost all the major railway stations.
Now Indian Railways owned RailTel has clarified that despite Google quitting the project, they will continue to provide free WiFi across 5600 railway stations.
This is a big relief for rail passengers.
Google: We Quit Free WiFi Program At Railway Stations
Yesterday, Google announced that they will now stop providing free WiFi at railway stations, and they will quit the project by 2020 end.
Caesar Sengupta, VP – Payments and Next Billion Users, Google in a blog post said, “Therefore, we’ve made the decision to gradually wind down the Station program globally, through 2020. We are working with our partners to transition existing sites so they can remain useful resources for the community.”
As per Google, mobile data rates in India are right now one of the cheapest in India, and more than 10 GB of data is consumed by an Indian user, every month.
Hence, it doesnt make sense for them to continue in the ‘Station’ project, which they started in 2018. They had a goal to cover 400 stations, and they achieved that goal in 2018 itself.
Indian Railways: We Will Continue To Provide Free WiFi Across 5600 Stations
Later in the day, Indian Railways owned RailTel, which provides the broadband backbone to the Station project across railway stations, clarified that they will continue to provide free WiFi across the nation.
Infact, all 5600 railway stations where Station program is active, will continue to receive free WiFi, despite Google quitting the program.
RailTel has informed that the contract with Google for providing free WiFi was applicable only for 415 stations of A1, A and C categories only.
RailTel said, “In this partnership Google provided the RAN and technology support and RailTel provided the physical infrastructure and internet bandwidth (ISP).”
RailTel, on their own has provided free WiFi across 5190 railway stations, of B, C, D categories.
Since Google’s contract with RailTel is expiring in 2020, they will look for other tech providers, and continue the free WiFi program.
The statement said, “We have roped in a number of partners along the journey and currently RailTel is providing free WiFi at 5600 stations across the country. We entered into a five-year contract with Google for supporting us with setting up WiFi at 415 stations only and the contract is going to expire soon.”
So, no need to worry for railways passengers, because they will continue to get free WiFi as per the promise, across 5600 railway stations.