Commuters on Airport Express Line in Delhi can now access the internet using free high-speed WiFi inside train coaches as the Delhi Metro launched the services on Thursday, the first such facility in any country in the South Asian region.
The 22.7-km swankiest line on the Delhi Metro network has six stations, and eight trains ply on this corridor, officials said.
The WiFi facility inside train coaches on the Airport Line was launched by DMRC Chief Mangu Singh in a running train on the express corridor that connects New Delhi and Dwarka Sector 21 stations.
"This is the first time in India that WiFi facility is being provided in underground metro trains. India has become the fourth country in the world to have this, as at present underground metro train WiFi facility is available in Russia, South Korea, and China," Executive Director of Corporate Communications, DMRC, Anuj Dayal told reporters after the launch.
According to the DMRC, this is also the first time, WiFi facility is being provided in underground metro trains in the South Asian region.
"A few metro cities globally offering WiFi connectivity in underground trains are Moscow and St Petersburg (Russia), Seoul (South Korea) and Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Shanghai (China)," the DMRC said.
Passengers on Airport Express Line will now be able to enjoy all standard internet applications like email, Facebook, YouTube, Google search, WhatsApp, video and audio calls, and more while travelling inside a train.
The plan is also to extend the services to other corridors (Line 1 to 6) – Red Line, Yellow Line Blue Line, Green Line, and Violet Line, Dayal said.
"The timeline for the expansion of the facility to other six corridors (Lines 1 to 6) is roughly one year. Based on the performance, we will see how it can be extended to Lines 7, 8, and 9 – Pink Line, Magenta Line, Grey Line," he said.
For accessing the high-speed internet facility, a passenger needs to log on to 'METROWIFI_FREE' network. After that, they would need to enter the phone number and an OTP (one-time password) will be sent to the mobile number. Once the login is successful, the commuter can enjoy the free WiFi service throughout the journey.
A one-way journey on the swanky corridor takes 24 minutes and about 60,000 people use the line daily, according to the DMRC.
The Airport Express Line has six stations – New Delhi, Shivaji Stadium, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Aerocity, IGI Airport, and Dwarka Sector 21.
This WiFi project was implemented by a consortium of Maxima Digital Pvt Ltd (a partner of Maxima Telecom of Russia), Technosat India Pvt Ltd, and Sifi Technologie, the DMRC said.
"For giving a seamless WiFi experience at the Airport Express Line, the consortium has laid a dedicated 24-km fibre network, 7 km of power cable with 44 base stations (pole as well as frame type) and other active components along the entire length of the line to ensure that trains never lose WiFi connectivity," Dayal said.
Every train (driver car) is equipped with radios to connect to the trackside network (TSN) and every coach in the train has wireless access points for passengers to connect, officials said.
"Three hours of work per day was undertaken for the project, beyond the operational hours of the Airport Express Line," Dayal said.
WiFi facility is already available on platforms of the Airport Express Line and Blue Line, started in October 2016 and 2017 respectively, officials said.
According to a senior official of Maxima Telecom, the WiFi facility inside Moscow Metro trains was launched in 2015.
"Russia was the first to launch such a facility. But in Delhi Metro, the WiFi services would be much better," the official said.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)