RailTel has successfully completed the work of providing free public Wi-Fi at 5,500 stations across the country. Mahua Milan Railway Station of East Central Railway zone became the 5,500th station in the country to have free public Wi-Fi.
To transform the railway stations into the hub of digital inclusion, Indian Railways mandated RailTel, a Miniratna PSU under Ministry of Railways, to provide free high-speed Wi-Fi at the Railway stations. The journey started in January 2016 from the financial capital of India – Mumbai Central station. And in a span of 46 months RailTel has successfully provided Wi-Fi at 5,500 stations across the country. The mission is to provide Wi-Fi at all (except the halt ones) railway stations. Along the journey, RailTel has roped in partners like Google, Tata Trust, PGCIL for some parts of the project and also got funding from Department of Telecom USOF for 200 stations. The Wi-Fi is being provided under the brand name of RailWire- the retail broadband service of RailTel.
Talking about the journey so far, Puneet Chawla, chairman and managing director (CMD), RailTel, said, “The station Wi-Fi has become really popular amongst the people and the number of users and the data consumption is only growing day by day. The month of October 2019 saw total 15 million user logins in ‘RailWire’ Wi-Fi services across all stations consuming 10,242 TB of data.”
This was a unique initiative as this Wi-Fi network is one of the largest Wi-Fi networks of the world. Free access to high speed Wi-Fi will help in bridging the digital divide between rural and urban India. Students using their waiting time to download study materials, vendors using the service for digital payment transactions, daily passengers using their time at stations learning new skill or surfing net- the free Wi-Fi has been a boon to these people who otherwise suffers from poor connectivity issues.
Free Wi-Fi services to passengers are being provided under ‘RailWire’- the retail broadband initiative of RailTel catering to enterprises, SMEs and homes. Designed to offer users the best internet experience, RailWire Wi-Fi at railway stations will be available to any user who has a smartphone with working mobile connection for KYC considerations.
To use the Wi-Fi the user has to switch on the Wi-Fi mode on the smartphone and select the RailWire Wi-Fi network. The RailWire homepage automatically appears on the smartphone.The user has to enter his or her mobile number on this homepage. The user will get one-time password (OTP) in form of SMS in the message box which has to be entered in the home page of RailWire. After entering OTP Users will be able to access high speed internet & can start internet browsing.