Google, the tech mammoth has collaborated with RailTel with an ambition to provide free public WiFi at 400 Indian railway stations. The idea had begun to execute from 2016 and in June 2018, they thrived.
It was indeed a glorious initiative flourished under the government’s Digital India Program to bring unconnected Indians online which RailTel says a “digital inclusion platform”. They completed the mission while fixing the 400th WiFi at Dibrugarh station, the estate of tea-city.
K Suri, who is leading the team of Google India says – “Bringing high-speed connectivity to millions of Indians across the train station, has been an incredible journey and underscores the importance of investing in public Wi-Fi as a crucial step in getting high-quality internet to everyone in India. With over 8 million monthly unique users connecting to the network, this is a lighthouse project for India and every growing economy that is looking to bring the benefit of connectivity to everyone in their country.”
An Idea to Empower Mankind
The Execute Director, K Manohar Raja who represents Enterprise Business at RailTel, says that his only focus to bring each Indian on a common digital platform with equal access. He further added that – “We had the infrastructure but not the access network”, and that is where the idea came from where he thought of bringing the people to the internet.
Indian Railways and Google – Team Work
On each platform at a station, there are about three to four routers, installed on pillars as well as on the ceiling. They are trapped in lock boxes to avoid unauthorized interference. They are specifically placed in a fishing net structure so that you could get a proper connection wherever you stand.
Cities like Mumbai or Guwahati, which has a great number of people who might get the internet speed of about 1.2 to 1.5 Mbps while the remote areas like Dibrugarh get the speed of 29 to 34 Mbps.
The connection is designed in such a way that when you connect to the network for the first time, all the speed you get is for free. But after an hour the connection gets stifled to prevent misuse of the anticipation.
Accomplishment of Goals
While installing the final connection at 400th station, Google and RailTel officially finished the race. The end of the project does not mean that the current project will not expand in future. Suri and Raja have assured that they would bring the changes or update the project when the need appears.
“We’re looking into generating revenue in a way that doesn’t create friction for users,” Raja says. “We want to sort that out before pushing that lever.”
Raja also believes that once the Railwire start charging people to access, the project would meet the equal platform because the user’s reciprocation would help RailTel to generate money which would eventually benefit the people.