Hyderabad: Taking forward the Digital India Mission, Indian Railways and Rail Tel Corporation of India Ltd, a subsidiary of Indian Railways, has formulated a plan to implement digital initiatives on its entire rail network. As part of this, Free High speed Wi-Fi facility is being provided to benefit the rail users at stations.
Starting with Mumbai Central in January 2016, provision of free Wi-Fi named Rail Wire is extended as much to 1600 major and minor railway stations of Indian Railways within 2 years 4 months duration. It is estimated that 20,000 users everyday are first time users of the internet over Indian Railways.
South Central Railway (SCR) General Manager Gajanan Mallya opined that in the present scenario the use of smart phone & internet has increased enormously with revolutionary change in Technology and therefore free high-speed Wi-Fi will surely help the passengers in all ways like entertainment, information, knowledge, communication and skills. Generally, Railway stations are mass contact areas and providing this facility will help in ease out the waiting time of passengers at stations, he added.
The General Manager advised the officers and staff of SCR to coordinate with Rail Tel corporation and also instructed the railway officials to chalk out the plans to extend the facility to all railway stations (except halt stations) over the zone within this current financial year as mentioned in the 100 days action plan given by Ministry of Railways.
At present on South Central Railway, a total of 207 stations have been provided with Wi-Fi facility which includes 36 major stations (Al & A category) and 171 minor stations (B, C, D, E category). With this, Provision of free Wi-Fi is successfully completed in all Al, A, B, C, D category stations & some of ‘E’ category stations.
Provision of free high speed Wi-Fi is nearing completion in another 76 ‘E’ category stations, while work is in fast progress for provision of the same in remaining stations i.e., 291 ‘E’ category stations over SCR. With this all stations of SCR (except ‘F’ category stations) will have free high speed Wi-Fi facility.
A user friendly high speed free Wi-Fi facility provided at railway stations across SCR network is gaining popularity day by day. In the month of May 2019, the total user logins were more than 10 lakh in 207 stations over SCR consuming more than 40 Terra bytes data.
Secunderabad Railway station registers highest number of user and data consumption in SCR and is in 4th position amongst 1600+ stations across India in terms of unique users. Apart from this, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Guntakal are some of the stations which recorded significantly high numbers of users.
The numbers speak volume about the fact that despite of having easy access to mobile internet, public Wi-Fi is still a preferred choice of the Rail users while at railway stations.
Free Wi-Fi services to rail users are being provided under ‘Rail Wire’ brand-the retail Broadband initiative of Rail Tel. Designed to offer the best Internet experience to users, Rail Wire Wi-Fi is accessible by any user who has a smart phone with working mobile connection for KYC considerations.
To use the Wi-Fi the user has to switch on the Wi-Fi mode in the smart phone and select the Rail Wire Wi-Fi network. Rail Wire homepage network automatically appears on the smart phone and prompts to enter mobile number.
The user will get one-time password (OTP) in form of SMS in the message box which has to be entered in the home page of Rail Wire. After entering OTP, users will be able to access high speed internet and can start internet browsing.
The free high speed Wi-Fi facility provided at small railway stations in rural areas is benefitting the outsiders apart from rail users.
For instance the free high speed Wi-Fi facility provided at small remote railway station Gollapalli, in Telangana state of SCR jurisdiction is helping in enhancing the skills and knowledge of students studying in the Government school within the vicinity of station.
Usage statistics show significant pent up demand for connectivity, amongst train commuters in stations covered by the station Wi-Fi project who have used the service. With unconstrained, free high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity, an average user consumes 343 MB in an average 30-minute data session.
This is much higher than what we observe on an average 3G connection in the country which is currently around 30MB per user per day.
The efforts of Indian Railways in general and SCR in particular in extending the free High speed Wi-Fi facility at railway stations is being appreciated by all sections of the rail users. (INN)