Last week, Lucknow, Lucknow Jn, Sealdah and Gorakhpur Jn stations were connected to the speedily expanding Google and RailTel network – the project to connect India’s stations to high speed internet.
On June 20, Google marked the ‘World Wi-Fi Day’. On this occasion, Google revealed that the number of Indian stations connected to Wi-Fi now stands at 19, with close to 1.5 million people using the free Wi-Fi facility
Citing IMAI data, Google said in a blog post
that it aims to connect 10 million users in over 100 stations to RailTel by end of 2016.
The first station to get this free Wi-Fi facility was Mumbai but Google says that Tier 2 cities have been showing incredibly high rate of data consumption than Tier 1 cities.
Within a day of RailTel’s launch at Bhubaneshwar, data usage at the station surpassed that of Mumbai Central.
“We’re seeing similar usage patterns emerge in tier 2 cities like Patna, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam. Per capita consumption of data in tier 2 cities far exceeds the consumption we are seeing in tier 1 cities,” noted Google.
What are people in Tier 2 cities using RailTel for?
Google says: “A lot of users in tier 2 cities use the network to look up and apply for jobs online. Bhubaneswar and Pune see lots of students come to the stations to look for up information related to educational courses, exam results, downloading softwares and upgrading their phone apps.”
Google and IAMAI’s data also showed the average consumption per user on the network is 15 times the data they would consume on a 3G pack in a day.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu speaks during the launch of a new free Wi-Fi Internet service at Mumbai Central central railway station on January 22, 2016. PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images
This is one of the major reasons why people in Tier 2 cities, where such high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity is limited, are latching onto RailTel’s facility. The search-engine giant noted that a “majority of India continues to access the Internet on a narrow band network”.
Easy and affordable access to full fidelity broadband network continues to be a challenge in India and is throttling the economic impact that Internet can have on the country,” the official Google blog post said.
Indian Railways’ RailTel owns the railway cable network across India. While RailTel is providing wireless solutions, Google is providing Internet connectivity.
Anouther 400 stations will be connected to RailTel in the next two years. Google’s announcement of free Wi-Fi at 500 stations was made last year following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Google headquarters.
How to connect to RailTel?
1. Turn on Wi-Fi and select RailWire from a list of available Wi-Fi connections. 2. Enter your phone number in the Wi-Fi login screen and press tab ‘Send SMS’. 3. You’ll receive a 4-digit OTP. 4. Enter the OTP in the login screen and press done.