The Mumbai Central railway station will be the first to offer Google’s Wi-Fi services. The station’s Wi-Fi service is expected to be ready for public use by mid-October. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced during his visit to Google’s headquarters that the company will be collaborating with the Indian Railways to offer free Wi-Fi services at 500 stations by next year.
Google will be partnering with RailTel Corporation of India to offer Wi-Fi services in stations. The service would be free for the first 30 minutes for a 24 hour period. RailTel has stated that it will be a high-speed network. It also claims that the network will be fast enough to deliver HD video streaming services, and passengers will be able to download a movie in four minutes.
RailTel’s statement also added that high speed connectivity offered by the service can spur vendors in railway stations to offer additional services. It also said that it created a possibility of building an IoT ecosystem. This could lead to automated operations such as monitoring of rolling stock, efficient use of electrical lighting systems, and so forth. A. Seshagiri Rao, Director/Network Planning and Marketing of RailTel said, “Railway stations being places of human aggregation of all sections of society are ideal places to bridge the digital divide. With high penetration of smartphones, the station Wi-Fi could become locations where people can get initiated into experiencing broadband and digital literacy.” In 2012, RailTel began providing free Wi-Fi services at the Bangalore Railway Station.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Google is going to partner with the Indian Railways to launch Wi-Fi Services in over 400 railway stations. This initiative was said to have been codenamed Project Nilgiri. It was also reported that in phase two of the project, Google may provide Wi-Fi on moving trains. Currently, there are only a few trains in the country that provide Wi-Fi services.
Earlier this year, Google had added the Indian Railways schedule to Google Transit. It had also added public transport information of eight Indian cities. In December 2014, it was reported that Google was planning to introduce Google Fiber in India as part of the Digital India Program. It is possible that providing Wi-Fi connectivity in stations is just the first step in that plan, and may soon launch their internet services in the country soon.