It looks like the Indian Railways has launched yet another WiFi pilot project: A free Wi-Fi service at the New Delhi railway station as per a PTI report (via The Hindu Business Line).
Citing a senior Railway Ministry official, the report says this service will be on a pilot basis and the organization plans to extend this service to other stations in the future. While the details on this WiFi service is a bit sparse right now, the organization said that it has selected a Mumbai based firm through an open tender and the service is expected to go live in the next three to four months.
As per the tender posted (pdf) by the Northern Railways which concluded in May 2013, the approximate cost of the project is Rs 82.23 lakhs and it is expected to be completed within three months from the date the contract was awarded. However, we weren’t able to locate any information on the Indian railways website as to which company has secured this tender.
Besides free Wi-Fi service, Indian Railways also reportedly plans to replace the existing information kiosks with tablets on the railway station platform, which will apparently provide passengers with train related information like the current train position, expected arrival time and others. Its however not clear if the organization has partnered or in talks with any company for this initiative.
Only Pilots? When Will The Full Service Be Launched?
This development follows a similar pilot rollout of a free Wi-Fi facility on the Howrah Rajdhani Express earlier this year. Indian Railways was also planning to expand this service to other Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto express trains based on customer feedback received during the pilot, however there is currently no further information on this initiative yet.
However, we hope that Indian Railways moves this project beyond the pilot stage and expand it to other railway stations as well, unlike its previous projects which has always remained in the pilot stage. This includes the WiFi pilot on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express and Chennai- Bangalore-Chennai Shatabdi Express, both in 2009.
Back in 2006, Railtel had also stated that it plans to offer WiFi services in Bangalore and Jaipur railway stations. It had also collaborated with TELiBrahma to launch BluFi ( combination of Bluetooth and WiFi services) in the Bangalore railway station.
WiFi Initiatives By Other Transport Organizations
In May 2013, Tata DOCOMO had inked an exclusive agreement with GMR Airports to offer Wi-Fi services at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Hyderabad.
Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) was planning to launch free Wi-Fi service on its Mumbai to Pune Volvo buses. Broadband service provider Tikona Digital Networks had also launched a Wi-Fi network at the Maharana Pratap Inter-State bus terminus (ISBT) instead of its buses, in partnership with the Delhi Transport Corporation. Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation also apparently offers Wi-Fi internet service on its Airaavat range of buses.
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