Google and RailTel has extended their high speed free WiFi service to nine cities. The railway stations of Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Ernakulam Junction, Kacheguda, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Vijaywada and Vishakapatnam will offer high-speed Internet to an estimated 1.5 million passengers and visitors, the company said in its blog.
Google had kickstarted the project with RailTel earlier in January in Mumbai Central station. Google said that more than 100,000 people are already logging into the high-speed WiFi every week.
“In the months ahead, we’ll continue to work in close partnership with Indian Railways and RailTel, to reach 90 more stations this year, and eventually 400 spanning the whole of India,” it added. Google also provided a map of the stations it plans to roll out in the year.
In September 2015, announced that it would tie-up with the Indian Railways and RailTel to provide high speed WiFi coverage in 400 stations. RailTel owns a pan-India optic fibre network exclusively on railway track. It has laid out over 45,000 kms of optic fibre network across the country, which Google looks to utilize for its WiFi. At the time, Google did not say how it will actually make the platform self-sustainable. However, RailTel has a website says it has tariffs for RailWire.
Other public WiFi initiatives:
– In July 2015, Amazon offered free WiFi internet with unlimited usage across select bus stops in Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai, as a temporary campaign.
– In June 2015, Airtel won the mandate for the launch of Wi-Fi services in Gurgaon from the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG).
– The same month, state-run telecom operator BSNL tied up with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to provide WiFi hotspots for tourists at the Taj Mahal.
– It’s worth noting that Airtel had piloted Wifi at Cyberhub in Gurgaon for a while, and its competitor Vodafone provided WiFi at a metro station near Cyberhub. The two have a joint venture, FireFly Networks, and had recently installed WiFi services at the Supreme Court of India. You can read more about this here.
– In April 2015, Airtel also sought permission from the West Bengal government to set up Wi-Fi hotspots across Kolkata in competition with Reliance Jio, which had tied-up with the West Bengal government to introduce 4G-enabled free Wi-Fi service in some parts of the city.
– Sistema Shyam, which operates under the MTS brand in India, tied up with Indian Railways in April 2015, to offer WiFi services at railway stations across India.
– In November 2014, Tata Docomo tied-up with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to launch public Wi-Fi service in the Connaught Place area in Delhi.
– BSNL launched free WiFi in Varanasi in February 2015.
– Free Wifi was launched in Patna in February 2015.
– Apart from cities and towns, in the previous year, the citizens of Trikaripur village in Kasaragod district of Kerala got access to free Wi-Fi connectivity on their mobile phones through an optical fiber network of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).
– In January 2014, Bangalore had become the first city to have free WiFi hotspots called Namma WiFi, on M G Road, Brigade Road and four other locations in Bangalore.
– In April 2015, Hyderabad became the first city in the south zone to have BSNL Wifi internet.