Starting today, Mumbai’s eight suburban railway stations have been enabled with Wi-Fi services. Commuters at the Churchgate, Bandra, Bandra Terminus, Dadar Western Railway, Dadar Central Railway, Khar Road, Kalyan and Lokmanya Tilak stations can now access the service at a speed of 1 Gbps.
Mumbai Central was Wifi enabled at the beginning of this year.
Along with these eight stations, the service has also been soft launched at eight other stations from different cities, which include Allahabad, Pune, Chennai and Chandigarh.
In Maharashtra, apart from Pune and Mumbai, Nagpur and Solapur will be Wi-Fi enabled by the end of this year.
In Mumbai, 18 stations altogether were chosen for Wi-Fi services and, with the today’s launch, nine stations remain to be brought under the service. Also, the service was earlier launched at 21 other stations, including Bhubaneswar, Patna, Ranchi, Visakhapatnam, Lucknow, Jaipur and Chennai Central.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, during the launch, said that at railway stations, one could find a cross section of society, and this initiative aims at bridging the digital divide.
He also added that, once implemented, this would be one of the largest public Wi-Fi projects in the world.
Earlier this year, in tune with Modi’s digital India vision, Google and the Indian Railway Department’s wing RailTel had partnered so as to provide free Wi-Fi at 23 railway stations across India. Later, it was announced that the service would be available across the 100 topmost railway stations in the nation.
According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, around 10 million people pass through these stations in a single day and the free Wi-Fi facility will be an open platform for them, and will help them be a part of digital India.
The service has been built over RailTel’s fiber network, and is designed to offer high-speed broadband. Wi-Fi services to passengers are being provided under ‘Railwire’, the retail broadband distribution model of RailTel.
The statement says that travellers passing through these stations will be able to easily stream a high definition video while they are waiting, research their destination, and download books, movies, songs or new games for their journey.
The project is still in progress as the service is yet to be launched in 24 more stations, ranging from Madurai and Mangalore to CST and Thane.