The Indian Railways has rolled out free Wi-Fi facility at New Delhi railway station, one of the busiest stations in the country. The service is being offered as a value-added facility, and will be available to passengers on all 16 platforms at the railway station. The station handles about 300 trains and five lakh passengers every day.
The project is being implemented by RailTel, a railway Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) that has also been assigned to provide the service at other 'A1' and 'A' category stations in India. The total cost of the project is Rs 50 lakh, and an additional Rs 16 lakh will be spent on a yearly basis to run the facility.
Going forward, Indian Railways plans to provide Wi-Fi facility at 75 major stations across the country, including Dadar & CST in Mumbai, Thane, Chennai Central and Trivandrum Central, among others. The railways also aim to introduce the service in trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto. In April 2013, it had rolled out free Wi-Fi services on New Delhi- Howrah Rajdhani Express.
How it works?
Citizens with any valid Indian mobile number will be able to access the public Wi-Fi by switching on Wi-Fi in their devices. On selecting the public Wi-Fi, a one-time password (OTP) will be sent to their mobile number. Once the password authentication process is completed, they can then latch on to the Wi-Fi and enjoy internet services.
Note that the service is 'free' only for the first 30 minutes, and those who wish to continue using the Wi-Fi will have to purchase recharge cards that will be available at 24x7 Wi-Fi helpdesks at Paharganj and Ajmeri gate sides of the station. The recharge cards, which are valid for 24 hours, will be available at Rs 25 for 30 minutes and Rs 35 for an hour of Wi-Fi access.
However, details on what the speed of the Wi-Fi connection will be is not currently available.
The Railways Ministry had proposed some highly innovative tech-based solutions in the Railway Budget 2014-15, including Wi-Fi services in major stations.
Earlier this month, Tata DOCOMO, the unified telecom brand of Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTL), has tied up with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), to launch 'Public Wi-Fi' in the Connaught Place (CP) area in New Delhi. The service will cover the inner and outer circles of CP, which is one of the most prominent business and leisure centres in the city.
In Oct 2014, the Telangana government in partnership with telecom operator Airtel had launched the state's first 'Public Wi-Fi' in the city of Hyderabad. The service had been piloted in 17 prominent locations within the city. Other places where free Wi-Fi services are being offered by the government include Bangalore Metro and Khan Market. Free Wi-Fi is already available in several Indian airports.