It appears that the Indian Railways‘ plan to provide Internet on trains is still alive: TravelBizMonitor reports that Techno Sat Comm has piloted on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express. Techo Sat Comm has the support of 21Net, a European operator, which has deployed similar services.
The company is also considering content services on trains – the usual: Music downloads, movies on demand, stock market updates. Techno Sat Comm has plans to provide the service on 200 trains in the next five years, and this will require an investment of Rs. 700 crores.
Even if you assume that Techno Sat Comm will have a monopoly in this business, one still wonders if their potential investment of Rs. 700 crores is worth it. Once deployed, either the cost of services on-train will be prohibitively high, or they’ll have to keep it low to drive usage. Access on trains cannot be limited to the laptop user, and perhaps broadband can be the mode of delivery, while the user interface can be that of a content service…Secondly, is there a likelihood of competition from mobile operators and 3G Data services?